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1 mow el the she of Fori Stanwix during excavation. The line white line defines the periphcrv of the fort. 



John F. Luzader 


Louis Torres 


Orville W. Carroll 

Office of Park Historic Preservation 

National Park Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 

Washington 1976 

As the Nation's principal conservation agency, the 
Department of the Interior has responsibility for most 
of our nationally owned public lands and natural 
resources. This includes fostering the wisest use of our 
land and water resources, protecting our fish and 
wildlife, preserving the environmental and cultural 
values of our national parks and historical places, and 
providing for the enjoyment of life through outdoor 
recreation. The Department assesses our energy and 
mineral resources and works to assure that their 
development is in the best interests of all our people. 
The Department also has a major responsibility for 
American Indian reservation communities and for 
people who live in Island Territories under U.S. 

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 

Main entry under title: 

Fort Stanwix : history, historic furnishing, and historic 
structure reports. 

Includes bibliographies. 

CONTENTS: Luzader, J. F. Construction and mili- 
tary history, 1758-1777. — Torres, L. Historic furnish- 
ing study. — Carroll, O. W. Historic structure report. 

I. Stanwix, Fort, N.Y. 2. Stanwix, Fort, N.Y. — 
Siege, 1777. I. United States. National Park Service. 
II I uzader, John F. Construction and military history, 
1758-1777. 1976. III. Torres, Louis, 1921- 
Historic furnishing study. 1976. IV. Carroll, Orvillc 
W. Historic structure report. 1976. 
FI29.R82F67 069'.53 75-619385 

I oi s;ilc by the Superintendent of Documents, 
U.S. Government Printing Office 
Washington, DC. 20402-Price $3.50 

Stock Number 024-005-00664-8 


The reconstruction of Fort Stanwix is one of 
the National Park Service's major Bicentennial 
efforts. It also illustrates the successful combina- 
tion of history, archeology, and historical architec- 
ture in the accomplishment of a major preservation 

The British first built Fort Stanwix in 1758 to 
guard the strategic portage between the Mohawk 
River and Wood Creek from the French. Following 
the French and Indian War and the British con- 
quest of Canada the fort was abandoned and 
gradually fell into disrepair. Its site became stra- 
tegically important again with the coming of the 
American Revolution, however, and the Patriots 
rebuilt the fort in time to thwart a British invasion 
of New York by way of the Mohawk River Valley. 
The wood and earthen structure fell into disuse and 
was abandoned for the last time in 1781. Buildings 
of the City of Rome, New York eventually blanketed 
its site. 

In 1935, at the request of citizens of Rome, 
the Congress authorized Fort Stanwix as a national 
monument. Years passed and there was no further 
Federal action. In 1963 the Secretary of the Interior 
designated the site a national historic landmark; 
coincidently it fell within the boundaries of an 
urban renewal project. The city received urban 
renewal funds in 1965, began to clear the site, and 
requested the National Park Service to prepare a 
master plan for Fort Stanwix. 

The Fort Stanwix master plan, approved on 
March 14, 1967, called for the reconstruction of 
the former fort — prematurely perhaps, for studies 
that would indicate the feasibility of the proposal 
had not been made. The plan noted that reconstruc- 
tion would require the removal of existing struc- 
tures, donation of the site to the National Park 

Service, archeological investigation, historical 
research, and the preparation of plans. 

The extensive study and documentation needed 
to reconstruct a structure of the magnitude and 
character of Fort Stanwix is presented in the 
historic structure report. This report for Fort Stanwix 
consists of four basic sections: a historic data 
section, an archeological data section, an archi- 
tectural data section, and an administrative data 
section, the latter immediately following this 

A historical data section provides available 
pertinent information on a structure's construction 
and use together with appendixes containing copies 
of appropriate documents and illustrations, a 
bibliography, and recommendations for further 
study. Historian John F. Luzader prepared such a 
section for Fort Stanwix in 1969. It contains not 
only data on the fort's history but a history of the 
1777 military operations around Fort Stanwix as 
well. Although not necessary for reconstruction 
itself, the latter was needed for interpretive pur- 
poses and was included with the structure report as 
a matter of convenience. A single comprehensive 
study is the result. 

An archeological investigation was essential 
to the reconstruction of Fort Stanwix. Although 
the surface remains of the fort had been obliterated 
by city streets and some 70 buildings, extensive 
remains were believed to exist beneath ground level. 
A preliminary archeological investigation explored 
a small portion of the site in 1966 and a major 
investigation took place between 1970 and 1972. 
The results of these investigations are presented by 
Archeologists Lee Hanson and Dick Ping Hsu in 
the archeological data section of the Fort Stanwix 
report. The National Park Service has published 

this report separately under the title "Casemates 
and Cannonballs." 

Beginning in 1971, Historical Architect Orville 
W. Carroll worked closely with the archeological 
team and maintained contact with Historian Luzader 
as the work progressed. His report is a synthesis of 
his own investigation of written and graphic sources 
and information provided by the other disciplines. 
The results of his work and his recommendations 
arc presented in the text and drawings of the 
architectural data section. 

After the professional reports are submitted 
and analyzed, the area superintendent or regional 
director completes the report by adding its adminis- 
trative data section. This brief section states the 
significance of the structure, its Order of Significance 
as recorded in the Service's List of Classified 
Structures, and its proposed treatment. The section 
also outlines any cooperative agreements, legisla- 
tion, or documents having a bearing on the use of 
the structure. In short, the administrative data 
section is an administrative summary of the pro- 
fessional reports and recommends action for 
preservation, restoration, or reconstruction. 

After the proposed treatment is determined 
and funds to support it are available, a historical 
architect prepares needed working drawings and 
specifications and work can begin. The project 
should close with the preparation of a historic 
structure preservation guide to direct site managers 
in the structure's care and maintenance. 

Reconstruction of Fort Stanwix alone would 
be insufficient to make it meaningful to most visitors, 
furnishings arc needed. The initial step in provid- 
ing such furnishings is the historic furnishings 
study, gathering and presenting pertinent evidence 
on the contents of a structure in its historic period. 

(Furnishings at Fort Stanwix include its armament 
and military equipment.) This study is usually pre- 
pared by a historian or curator. When data on the 
furnishings of a specific structure are not available 
he seeks comparable data from similar structures. 
Historian Louis Torres prepared the Fort Stanwix 
furnishings study in 1974. His study, though not a 
section of the historic structure report, is included 
as a fitting companion to the other sections. 

This publication is presented less for its infor- 
mation on Fort Stanwix than for the process of 
restoration directed research within the National 
Park Service that it illustrates. Each section ap- 
pears here as an entity as it was prepared by its 
author. Thus, though there is some duplication in 
texts and illustrations, this juxtaposition makes the 
role of the individual reports and their continuity 
readily apparent. We hope that others committed 
to the vital but difficult task of preserving this 
Nation's heritage will find it useful. 

Administrative Data 

Fort Stanwix National Monument was author- 
ized by an Act of Congress approved August 21, 
1935 (49 Stat. 665). A master plan for the monu- 
ment approved on March 14, 1967 recommended 
that it include 18-acres of the historic fort site and 
that events that had taken place there be interpreted 
through a reconstruction of the 1777 fort. 

When completed the reconstructed fort will 
be proposed for listing on the List of Classified 
Structures as a structure of the First Order of 

The site contains 16.2 acres. Apart from 
easements given to local utilities for lines which 
traverse the monument, there are no formal 
cooperative agreements governing its administration. 


Construction and Military History 1 

1758 to 1777 

Introduction 2 

I The Oneida Carrying Place and Its Early Forts 3 

II The Building of Fort Stanwix 7 

III Fort Stanwix in the Revolution: Rebuilding 21 

IV Fort Stanwix in the Revolution: Siege 30 
Appendices: Plans. Sketches, Thoughts of Burgoyne 56 
Notes 66 
Bibliography 70 

Historic Furnishing Study 










Arms and Accouterments 






Indian Supplies 






Hardware, Utensils, Furniture, and Accessories 



The Furnished Areas 

Appendix: The "Stars and Stripes" at Fort 


Stanwix: A Summary of the Evidence 






Historic Structure Report ,21 

I Summary 122 

II Studies Completed to Date 123 

III Historical Background of Fort Stanwix 125 

IV Proposed Use of the Fort Structures 129 
V Proposed Reconstruction Work with Military Glossary 131 


A. The Fort Stanwix Historical Center 166 

B. Class C — Cost Estimates 171 

C. Addendum — Lumber Procurement and Preservation 176 
Notes 194 




1 758 TO 1 777 

John F. Luzader 

Introduction 2 

The Oneida Carrying Place and Its Early Forts 3 

The Building of Fort Stanwix 7 

Fort Stanwix in the Revolution: Rebuilding 21 

Fort Stanwix in the Revolution: Siege 30 

Illustration: Plan of Fort Stanwise [Stanwix] 16 

Appendices 56 

I "Plan of Forts at the Oneida [sic] or Great Carrying Place" 56 

II "Return of His Majesty's Troops Detached from the Oneida Station — 15th August 1758 
under the Command of Lieut. Colonel Bradstreet" 56 

III "Plan of Fort Stanwix Built at Oneida Station by Provincial Troops in 1758" 57 

IV "Plan of Fort Stanwix Showing what Works were done at that Post from July to December 
1759" 58 

V "Plan of Fort Stanwix Built at the Oneida Station 1758" 59 

VI "A Sketch of Fort Stanwix, with its Buildings and Outworks, November 19, 1764" 59 
VII "Plan of Fort Stanwix, Showing what is finished and what is to be done to compleat 

it" 60 
VIII Francois de Fleury. "A Sketch of the siege of Fort Schuyler" 60 
IX "Gansevoort Map of Fort Stanwix" 61 

X "Plan Showing the Putative Layout of Fort Stanwix in August 1777" 62 
XI John Burgoyne. "Thoughts for Conducting the War from the Side of Canada" 63 
Notes 66 
Bibliography 70 


The purpose of this study is to provide an 
account of the history of Fort Stanwix (Fort 
Schuyler) that stood on a site within the limits of 
the modern city of Rome, New York. The emphasis 
is upon the story of the fort's construction and its 
role in the defeat of Gen. John Burgoyne's cam- 
paign of 1777, an American victory that resulted in 
the internationalization of the War of Independence. 
Other incidents, including the two Treaties of Fort 
Stanwix and the border warfare of 1778-81, are 
mentioned very briefly, not because they are in- 
significant but because they are not central to the 
purpose noted above. 

Special thanks arc due to a number of persons 
whose assistance was valuable in the preparation 
oi tins work. Among them are: Melvin Weig. 
former Superintendent, Morristown National His- 

torical Park, now retired; his successor, James 
Coleman; Roy E. Appleman, former Chief, Park 
History Studies, National Park Service, retired; 
Historian William Meuse, formerly of Saratoga 
National Historical Park, now with the Harpers 
Ferry Center, National Park Service; Dr. Eugene 
Kramer. Senior Historian, New York State History 
Office; the staff of the Rome Historical Society; 
and the staffs of the Map Division, Library of 
Congress, Huntington Library, New York Public 
Library, Boston Public Library, New York State 
Library, British Public Record Office, Public 
Archives of Canada, New Jersey Historical Society, 
and New-York Historical Society. A particular debt 
is owed to my colleagues: Archeologist Lee Hanson. 
Architect Orville Carroll, and Historian Louis 


The city of Rome, New York, lies athwart an 
ancient route along which travelers, traders, and 
warriors moved for centuries. On the south-east 
side of the city are the headwaters of the Mohawk 
River, which flows eastward until it joins the 
Houston to reach the Atlantic Ocean. On the 
northern side is Wood Creek, which with the Fish 
Kill (Creek), Lake Oneida, and Oswego River 
forms a passage to the Great Lakes. Using this 
route, the Indian and colonial trader had only to 
carry his canoe over the nearly level land between 
the two riparian systems to travel by water from 
the ocean to the Great Lakes and Canada. The 
short portage between the Mohawk and Wood 
Creek came to be known as the Oneida Carrying 
Place. Possession of this portage was a significant 
strategic position on the northwest frontier, which 
carried with it control of the water route. It would 
be difficult to exaggerate the importance of that 
frontier. That the Mohawk was the gateway to a 
vast western region was apparent to the colonists 
and the government in London. More immediately 
important were its associations with the local 
Indians. The area from the upper Hudson to Lake 
Erie was the land of the confederacy known as the 
Six Nations of the Iroquois, which was composed 
of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, 
Seneca, and Tuscarora nations. In spite of their 
limited numbers, the Iroquois were the strongest 
native power in eighteenth century North America; 
and they were the generally consistent foes of the 
French and their Indian allies, supporting first the 
Dutch and then the English in their colonial wars. 
But for them, the English colonists would have been 
flanked north and west by France and her native 
confederates, the Algonquins and Hurons. They 
were economically important as the entrepreneurs 

of a fur trade that made the northwest frontier one 
of the most important economic areas in North 

Provincial interest in the region and its people 
appeared early in the Colonial period. Dutch traders 
in Fort Orange (Albany) carried on an extensive 
beaver trade with the natives and were constantly 
concerned that France would seduce the Iroquois 
and possess their lands. This concern continued 
after the colony became English, and as early as 
1727 the province built a small fortified trading 
post at the mouth of the Oswego River on Lake 
Ontario. This was eventually replaced by a larger 
and stronger post; and, before the middle of the 
century, stockades stood at the falls of the Oswego 
and at both ends of Oneida Lake. The size of the 
garrisons varied, depending upon the intensity of 
the international rivalry for the Indian trade. 

The Oneida Carrying Place was one of the 
most critical points on the route to the Great 
Lakes and Canada. On July 10, 1702, two Indian 
tribes, the Twightwighs (a Miami group) and the 
Teoreondaties (perhaps a Seneca group) petitioned 
Governor Cornbury of New York, asking that a 
path be marked over the portage and that trees be 
removed from Wood Creek to permit the passage 
of canoes. The governor granted their request and 
promised to send guides to meet the Indians and 
conduct them to Albany. 1 

More than two decades later, on November 
10, 1724, Cadwallader Colden, then Surveyor 
General and later Lieutenant Governor and author 
of a classic history of the Five Nations, prepared a 
memorial concerning the fur trade for Governor 
William Burnet in which he referred to the Carrying 
Place, describing the portage as being three miles 
long except in dry weather, when its length was 

4 Fort Stanwix 

five miles.- Occasionally the provincial govern- 
ment's officials, especially the Commissioners for 
Indian Affairs, gave their attention to matters 
related to the portage, as when they considered 
the complaints of forty-seven traders who were 
having trouble with the Oneidas because the Indians 
were making too much of a good thing of their 
situation at the Carrying Place. 3 

The Oneida Carrying Place's position on the 
route between Albany and the Great Lakes was 
described in the following terms: 

Oswego, along the accustomed route, is computed to be 
about 300 miles west from Albany. The first sixteen, 
to the village of Schenectady, is land carriage, in a 
good waggon road. From thence to the Little Falls of 
the Mohawk River, at sixty five miles distance, the 
battoes [sic] are set against a rapid steam; which too, 
in dry seasons, is so shallow, that the men are fre- 
quently obliged to turn out, and draw their craft over 
the rifts with inconceivable labour. At the Little Falls, 
the portage exceeds not a mile: the ground being 
marshy will admit of no wheel-carriage, and therefore 
the Germans who reside here, transport the battoes in 
sleds, which they keep for that purpose. The same 
conveyance is used at the Great Carrying Place, sixty 
miles beyond the Little Falls; all the way to which 
the current is still adverse, and extremely swift. The 
portage here is longer or shorter, according to the 
dryness or wetness of the seasons. In the last summer 
months, when the rains are most infrequent, it is 
usually six or eight miles across. Taking water again. 
we enter a narrow rivulet, called the Woodcreek. 
which leads into the Oneida Lake, distant about forty 
miles. This stream, tho' favorable, being shallow, and 
its hanks covered with thick woods, was at this time 
much obstructed with old logs and fallen trees. The 
Oneida 1 ake stretches from east to west about thirty 
miles, and in calm weather is passed with great facility. 
At its western extremity opens the Onondaga [Oswegol 
River, leading down to Oswego, situated at its entrance 
on the south side of Lake Ontario. Extremely difficult 
and hazardous with rifts and rocks', and the current 
Mowing with surprising rapidity. The principal obstruc- 
tion is twelve miles short of Oswego, and is a fall of 
about eleven feet perpendicular. The portage here is 
by land, not exceeding forty yards, before they launch 
lor the last time. 4 

B\ the middle of the eighteenth century, the 
( meida Carrying Place was an active station on the 
western route with four landing places, an upper 
one on each end for use during the spring and early 
summer when the waters were high and the lower 
ones for the drier seasons. Indians and possibly a 

few white settlers took advantage of the location, 
supplying wheeled vehicles to carry freight over 
the portage. 

The Carrying Place's military potential be- 
came obvious in 1755, when William Shirley, 
Governor of the Massachusetts Bay and Major 
General of the Royal Forces in North America, 
prepared for his Niagara campaign. Capt. William 
Williams of the 51st Regiment of Foot was sent 
to Oneida to open the road between the river and 
Wood Creek. Supplies and men moved up the old 
route, bound for Oswego, where ships were being 
readied for the lake voyage to Fort Niagara. The 
general moved his headquarters into a newly- 
erected building and directed the operations from 
there throughout the rest of June and July. It was 
here that he received official news of Gen. Edward 
Braddock's defeat on the Monongahela on July 9. 
That event was a great personal tragedy to him, for 
his son and namesake was among the slain. To his 
sorrow and immediate burdens was added the 
vastly increased responsibility for the success of 
British arms in the Colonies. Braddock's death 
made him the commanding general in North 
America. 5 Here in his log headquarters, Shirley 
struggled with the problems of his new role. It was 
a difficult one for a 61 -year-old man who had 
spent his adult life in the courts of law and in 
colonial administration. Everywhere he turned 
problems faced him, not the least of which was 
the effective use of the services of another im- 
portant civilian turned soldier, William Johnson. 
Here, also, he enlarged the purpose of his expedi- 
tion from the limited objective against Niagara 
(Frontenac) to the conquest of the Great Lakes 
region. To that end, Oswego should be fortified 
because "It is as much the key of these lakes and 
the southern and western country lying round them, 
to the English, as Nova Scotia is of the sea coast 
and eastern parts of North America; and the loss 
of them to the French . . . must not only make them 
absolute masters of the navigation of all these 
lakes. . . . but let them into the heart of the country 
inhabited by the Six Nations." By reducing the 
French posts. Britain would secure "the whole 
southern country behind the Appalachian or 
Alleghenny [sic] Mountains to the Crown of Great 
Britain, and have a further effect, to render Canada 
itself, of little or no value to the French." fi 

Throughout the summer. General Shirley 
worked at strengthening Oswego and preparing to 

History 5 

take the offensive against Niagara. However, the 
campaign was delayed when a council of war 
recommended that it be deferred until spring, 
"when greater numbers of men, vessels, provisions, 
and muskets would be available". 7 Deciding to 
winter his units at Oswego and Wood Creek, the 
general continued to plan for the next year and to 
seek support for his theories of how the British 
should move against the French in the lake country. 

Shirley was concerned about the security of 
the Albany-Oswego supply route. He had a healthy 
respect for French and Indian tactical mobility and 
was alert to the route's vulnerability to raids. On 
October 29, while stopping at the Carrying Place 
en route from Oswego to Albany, he prepared a 
set of instructions for Captain Williams that dealt 
with the security of that part of the supply line. 
After ordering him to assemble all of his command 
at the portage and to remain there until ordered 
elsewhere, to safeguard military stores, and to 
provide for transport over the Carrying Place, 
Shirley instructed Williams: 

You are to employ as many of the Men of the Detach- 
ment under your Command as you possibly can, in 
finishing the Fort this day marked out at this place 
and called Fort Williams and Compleating Barracks 
therein to contain 150 Men. you are to build therein 
a Storehouse of about the same Demensions [sic.] of 
that already built here, and as soon as the Barracks are 
fit to receive the Men of your Detachment you are 
to Quarter them therein. 

He instructed the captain to repair the road 
over the portage, to build a bridge over the 
"morass," and to provide quarters for one officer 
and thirty men who were being detached from 
Oswego to his command. He then informed him 
that "I have ordered Captain Marcus Petri with 
the Men under his Command to build a Fort at the 
upper Landing on the Wood Creek, to be called 
Wood Creek Fort." When Petri had completed the 
fort, he was to clear Wood Creek of obstructions; 
and Williams would station thirty men and an 
officer at the fort and build a storehouse there. 8 

The captains carried out their assignments. 
Fort Williams was erected near the Mohawk land- 
ings. It was a stockade with four half-bastions, 
each mounting a cannon. Inside were barracks for 
150 men and two storehouses or blockhouses that 
John Oisher was directed to build in October. The 
Wood Creek Fort, subsequently called Fort Bull, 

was a smaller, weaker post, built of a double row 
of palisades, the outer one 15 to 18 feet high and 
the interior one about the height of a man. It 
mounted no cannon and could accommodate 
approximately thirty men. 9 

Shirley's fears for the safety of the supply 
route were well-founded. Early in the morning of 
March 27, 1756, a French party commanded by 
an officer named de Lery attacked Fort Bull. 
Everyone within the fort, except a woman and a 
few soldiers, *vas killed. The post's magazine caught 
fire and the powder exploded, wrecking the fort. 
A sortie from Fort Williams and the belief that 
William Johnson was within striking distance with 
a superior force deterred the French from attacking 
the larger fort. 10 

Alarmed by this threat to the security of the 
Carrying Place, the British began strengthening 
their position. Two engineers, Mackellar and 
Sowers, started building a new and stronger fort 
on the site of the one recently destroyed. It was a 
stockade with a ditch on three sides. On the side 
toward Wood Creek, the water was raised by a dam 
that impounded the water to facilitate floating 
batteaus down Wood Creek. The post was approxi- 
mately 1 50 feet square, but the nature of the 
ground prevented building a perfect square. 11 The 
work was completed by Major Charles Craven; 
and by August a stronger fort, named Fort Wood 
Creek, with three structures, probably barracks and 
storehouses, had been completed. 

At the upper landing of Wood Creek, Major 
Craven erected a new post, named Fort Newport. 
It was built to receive supplies brought over the 
portage from the Mohawk and to cover a dam that 
raised the water of the creek so that upon opening 
the flood gate batteaus could float down to Fort 
Wood Creek, three miles away "which saved much 
Land Carriage, & in dry Seasons 7 Miles to Canada 

Fort Williams had been built hurriedly and 
was not strong enough to provide an adequate 
degree of security. Therefore, Craven was instructed 
to replace it with a new fort, called the Pentagon 
or New Fort and designated Fort Craven by later 
writers. It was built of "Hewed Loggs Horrisontaly 
[sic] layed, & tyed with Cross Beams, nine feet 
wide & filled with the Earth dug out of the 
Ditch. The Bastions intended for Bomb proof 
Magazines . . . , the Rampart near the Gates was 
raised higher than the Gates, the highth [sic] being 

6 Fori Stanwix 

near 10 feet & almost as High, all round." When 
the Pentagon was completed, Fort Williams would 
be razed. As shall be seen, it was never completed. '- 

Bj the end of the summer of 1756, the Oneida 
Carrying Place was an active unit in the colonial 
military supply system. Three forts stood guard; 
Wood Creek, Newport, and Williams, and the 
Pentagon was nearing completion. Two dams on 
Wood Creek cut the portage time so that the seven 
miles from the upper landing to Canada Creek 
could be negotiated in an hour and a quarter. There 
was a brick kiln, a saw-pit, and forge; and sutlers' 
houses lined the road leading from the Mohawk. A 
large post garden lay at the junction of the river 
and Little Creek. Craven's camp was located in an 
open area near Fort Williams and the Pentagon, 
which was still under construction. The situation 
at the Carrying Place had never been so strong. 1 ' 5 

The year 1756 was a critical one for British 
interests. William Shirley's plan for a comprehen- 
sive campaign on all frontiers was wrecked on the 
shoals of shortages and colonial governments' 
unwillingness to contribute to a common effort, 
less ambitious efforts against Crown Point and 
I iconderoga and the forts on Lake Ontario were 
all that were salvaged. Toward these undertakings 
Shirley turned his energies. In spite of personal 
sorrow and political frustrations, he gave of himself 
unstintingly. He vested the command of the Crown 
Point expedition in John Winslow and retained 
the direction of the Great lake campaign for 

The destruction of Fort Bull had been an 
illustration of one of Shirley's most serious military 
problem— enemy activity along the western supply 
route and the difficulty of maintaining the British 
garrison at Oswego. William Johnson investigated 
the matter, but little could be done except repri- 
mand Captain Williams for building a defective 
fort and not providing for adequate defenses of the 
Carrying Place." Williams had also ignored re- 
peated orders to huward supplies to Oswego, had 
left his post against orders; and the situation at 
that place had become so bad that its commander. 
Col. Janus Mercer, had been forced to drag sup- 
plies through the snow from \arious forts alone 
the route. Finally, the new Governor, Sir Charles 
Hardy, had organized a relief part\ '■ 

I hrough April and May. supplies, workers, and 
arms were rushed to Oswego in preparation for the 
campaign. Shirley worked hard at recruiting men 

for his expedition, which, if brought to full strength, 
would give him an effective strength of approximately 
4,500 men. 

While the general was struggling with these 
preparations, a political campaign directed against 
him bore fruit. He lost the patronage of the Duke 
of Newcastle, letters poured into London criticizing 
every phase of his civil and military administrations, 
local critics won over Governor Hardy, and the 
Ministry removed him. After a period of uncertainty 
about the command in North America, Col. Daniel 
Webb was named Shiley's interim successor. He 
would be followed by James Abercromby. who 
would eventually be superseded by John Camp- 
bell, the Earl of Landown, who was to become the 
commander-in-chief in North America." - ' While he 
awaited the arrival of his successors, Shirley went 
ahead with his plans for Crown Point and Ontario. 

Webb and Abercromby arrived in America in 
June, and Lord Loudoun in July; and the three 
new commanders met in Albany, where Loudoun 
abandoned the Lake Ontario offensive in order to 
concentrate upon Ticonderoga. This did not imply 
an abandonment of Oswego; and on August 12, 
Webb, with the 24th Regiment of Foot and some 
of Bradstreet's batteauxmen, was ordered to rein- 
force the Ontario garrison, about which the new 
commander-in-chief was becoming apprehensive. 

Loudoun's concern was justified. Soon after 
Webb, now a temporary major general, arrived at 
the Oneida Carrying Place on August 20, word 
reached him that Oswego had been captured by the 
French and that they were advancing toward the 
Mohawk, 6,000 strong. As soon as he heard the 
news. Major Craven mounted two six-pounders on 
one of the Pentagon's completed bastions and 
prepared to mount two more. Webb was in no 
frame of mind to defend the portage. Although he 
had Craven's troops, the garrisons of Forts 
Williams, Newport, and Wood Creek, the last 
including 150 of Schuyler's new Jersey Regiment. 
plus his own 24th Regiment and an unknown 
number of Bradstreet's men, on August 31 he gave 
the order to destroy the works and retreat to 
German Flats.' ' It was an inaurpicious beginning 
for his American career, whose record included the 
disastrous failure to support Fort William Henry 
almost a year to the day later, which earned him 
the unenviable reputation of Britain's most in- 
competent general officer in America during the 
Seven Years' War. 



The French capture of the forts at Oswego 
and Webb's destruction of the posts at the Oneida 
Carrying Place were severe blows to British prestige 
on the northwestern frontier. The vital region of 
the Iroquois was exposed to the machinations and 
maneuvers of the French and their Indian allies. 
The tribes of the Six Nations were not favorably 
impressed by the defence of Oswego and were 
contemptuous of the abandonment of the Carrying 
Place. Taking council of their self-interest, many 
of the province's red friends began to question 
the wisdom of identifying themselves with so inept 
and cowardly a lot as their white neighbors seemed 
proving themselves to be. Might not a more ac- 
commodating attitude toward the French — or least 
a neutral pose — be the better part of wisdom? It 
required all of William Johnson's and George 
Croghan's skill to preserve a working relationship 
with the tribes that would prepare the way for an 
eventual recouping of English fortunes. 

The events not only damaged relations with the 
Iroquois; they emboldened other tribes already 
allied with or favorably disposed toward France 
to harass Anglo-American settlers and traders and 
to increase their enthusiasm for cooperating with 
French military efforts. 

Nor were the results confined to military 
matters. The economic effects were crippling for 
those involved in the fur trade, of which the 
Iroquois were the middle-men and for which the 
Albany-Ontario route was the life-line. 

The settlers of the Mohawk Valley were left 
in an extremely dangerous situation. They were 
vulnerable to Indian raids, and there was a 
frightening possibility that the French would 
invade the province and bring organized war and 
devastation — a possibility that became a reality in 

November 1757, when Picote de Bellstre and the 
Sieur de Lorimer, with 300 regulars and an equal 
number of Canadians and Indians, moved eastward 
to German Flats and Fort Herkimer. The inhabitants 
of the region were predominantly German. They 
lived on the western fringe of settlement, where 
they had been settled as a buffer for the older 
settlements. The provincial government had not 
always used them well, and they had grievances 
against the English that the French intended to 
exploit, at the same time persuading the neighbor- 
ing Oneidas to joint the anti-English coalition. The 
settlers had confirmed French hopes by secretly 
agreeing to remain neutral. The fort was garrisoned 
by 200 men of the 22d Regiment under Capt. 
Richard Townshend, who warned the Palatines of 
the approaching French and urged them to take 
refuge in the fort. Trusting the French to respect 
their neutrality, they declined his offer. The French 
avoided the fort and at 3 o'clock in the morning 
of November 12 attacked the settlement, stealing 
and slaughtering the livestock and burning the 
houses and barns. Fifty of the Germans were killed 
and scalped and 150 were taken captive. The rest 
were left homeless to face the winter without shelter 
or food. The garrison was too weak to save the 
settlement, and its members probably counted 
themselves lucky to have escaped an attack or 
siege. When Lord Howe arrived from Schenectady, 
he found a scene of slaughter and destruction. The 
French commander on the Niagara frontier, the 
Marquis de Vaudreuil, reported the affair with 
obvious satisfaction, writing: "I have ruined the 
plans of the English; I have disposed the Five 
Nations to attack them; I have carried consternation 
and terror into all those parts." 1 

As the year 1757 came to an end. Frenchmen 

8 Fort Stanwix 

had reason to bo pleased with the progress of the 
war. Their control of the Ohio Valley was so firm 
that, for the present, it was not being challenged. 
They had razed Fort William Henry. The Albany- 
Ontario line and Mohawk country lay exposed. 
Governor Vaudreuil made bold plans for carrying 
the war into the heart of New York. Montcalm 
would move down Lake George and take Fort 
Edward. The Chevalier de Levis would take 3,000 
soldiers and Indians into the Mohawk Valley. The 
Iroquois, persuaded by French strength, would join 
him in sweeping down the valley; and Albany 
would be doomed. 2 

The governor's plan, similar in design to 
Burgoyne's for 1777, never took effect. General 
James Abercromby, who had succeeded Lord 
Loudoun as commander-in-chief, was at the head 
of Lake George preparing to attack Ticonderoga. 
The French plan for the Mohawk was abandoned, 
and Levis and his men were ordered to march 
from Montreal to reinforce Montcalm. 

The defeats of 1757 had far-reaching effects 
on the British leadership. William Pitt was making 
plans for redeeming the situation in the Colonies, 
and these included an invasion of Canada via 
Ticonderoga and Crown Point, an amphibious 
attack on Louisbourg, and an attack on Fort 
Duquesne. The Ticonderoga operation failed with 
the repulse of Abercromby on July 7, 1758, but 
the other parts of the plan succeeded; and before 
the year ended. Louisbourg and Duquesne were 
English. The tide of war turned and was running 
in Britain's favor. :| 

I he renewal of British vigor was evident in the 
Iroquois country. Sometime in the late spring or 
early summer of 1758, Abcrcomby, amid his 
concerns for the expedition against Ticonderoga. 
decided to repossess the Oneida Carrying Place, 
and he directed Brigadier John Stanwix to occupy 
the portage with four New York Independent 
Companies, 1,400 Provincials, and a company of 
Rangers He instructed Stanwix "to take Post at 
the Oneida Carrying Place, which I apprehend 
will not onlj cover that Country, but enable them 
to send oul large Scouts, to annoy the Enemy, and 
remove all the Fears and Objections of the Five 
Nations have raised against their joining us. upon 
whom to this Hour. I cannot depend for a single 
Man." ' 

In the meantime. Sir William Johnson had 
been negotiating with the Oneida Indians to obtain 

their consent to the construction of a new fort at 
the Carrying Place. To gain their approval, the 
British made two promises: that the fort, like the 
others on the Mohawk, would be demolished at 
the end of the war; and that there would be a 
"plentiful and cheap trade." r ' 

With the Oneida's acquiescence assured, the 
British began to plan their new fort. Lt. Col. 
James Montressor prepared a proposal, probably 
accompanied by a plan, that provided for: 

A Good Post to be made at the Oneida Carrying Place 
capable of Lodging 200 Men, in the Winter, and for 
3 or 400 Men in the Summer, for its Defense: with 
Logs — A Parapet of such a thickness, as the Engineer 
shall think necessary, according to the Scituation — 

A Ditch to be made, to serve to thicken the Para- 
pet — Barracks to be made underneath the Rampart, 
with the Flues of the Chimneys, to come thr'o the Top. 

The Square will be the Cheapest Form, to be made 
use of for this Work — 

The Bastions in like manner, can be made use of, for 
Storhouses [sic] or Magazines. 

In the Square may be made, Lodgings for the Officers, 
and the rest of the Quadrangle clear — The whole for 
be Loged [sic]. 

And opposite to the Officers' Barrack may be made a 
Storehouse for the Deposit of Indian Goods. 6 

Brigadier General Stanwix ordered his 
engineer, Capt. William Green, to review the plan 
and submit his opinion of its usefulness. The 
captain commented at length: 

By a good Post — I understand to be meant, such a 
one, as will contain with ease, the said Number of 
Men; To be executed in such a manner, as to protect 
them from a Coup de Main, and to be of such a Size, 
as will admitt [sic] of a proper Defence by such a 
Garrison, — The Exterior side of which Square, cannot 
possibly be less (if so little) that 300 ft wch procures 
but a very small Defence, from its flanks, && will 
make an Exterior Circuit of Logging, of nearly 1420 
ft by, at the very least 14 ft high, according to the 
Scituation may be, & in order to admitt of Barracks 
under the Rampart, to which the Retaining & Bracing 
Logwork, as well as the Logwork fronting the Interior 
Area, must in course be considered, as likewise the 
Loggwork to cover the Barracks, storehouses, and 
Magazines, t Hat are proposed to be made under the 
Rampart of the Curtins [sic], and Bastions, by wch it 
will appear, that the greatest part of the Rampart 

History 9 

round this Post, must be formed & Supported with 

As I am ignorant of the Scituation I conceive that any 
Form of a work that does not take up more in it's 
Exteriour & Interiour Circuit attention being made 
to an equal Flank Defence must be as cheap and a 
[s] good as a Square, as it might not be in my Power 
strictly to adhere to that Figure — As to the thickness 
of the Parapet, being informed cannon can be brought 
there, by the Enemy, it cannot be less than 12 ft., if 
so little, 18 ft being the Standard in such Cases. 
The Rampart for the Manuevre of Cannon, and like- 
wise to admit of a Reasonable Breadth for the 
Barracks underneath cannot be less than 20 ft. 

The Breadth and Depth of the Ditch cannot be con- 
sidered in Proportion for the Earth wanted, to form 
the said Parapet, and to cover the Loggwork of the 
Proposed Barracks, magazines & Storehouses to be 
made under the Rampart. 

His Excellency General Abercrombie is pleased to 
observe in His Letter of the 16th July to the following 
Purport — That He does not find Himself, vested with 
the Power of Building Forts, and that His Excellency, 
does not think, that it would be right for Him, to 
undertake the Building of those He Proposed &c &c. 

I hmbly conceive, that the plan ordered for the Post 
at the Oneida Carrying Place, is in all Respects & 
Circumstances to be Considered as a Fort, as it 
partakes, not only the figure, and the respective parts 
of a Fort, but even of the Permanent Intentions of a 
Fortress, as must clearly appear, by considering all 
the Particulars Ordered in that Plan, the Materials, of 
which it is ordered to be built with, being only peculiar 
to the Country and Scituation, and can no ways effect 
the Intention of that Work, and as to its capacity, in 
Point of Size, and the proper Strength, requisite in the 
Execution, when considered, it is ordered To be made 
a good Post, for 200 Men to 400 Men, I should think 
it my Duty, to execute it with Propriety, Care, and 
Attention, in order that it might answer the end 
Proposed — That of Covering that part of the Country. 

How far this can be executed, (allowing it, only to be 
looked upon, as a Post, instead of it's absolutely 
partaking, of all the Qualities and Intentions of a 
Fort) to answer the use Proposed, of having it finished 
against the Winter, must appear, by Considering 
First It will be near the end of this Month, 

before it will be begun upon, 
2dly How soon the Winter sets in in that part 

of the Country 
3dly The great quantity of Carpenters Work, 

to be executed in Logging & Bracing at 

least 1420 Exteriour Circuit by 14 ft high. 


Besides the Retaining Loggwork, and the 
Front Loggwork towards the Interiour 
Area, together with covering the Barracks, 
Storehouses, and Magazines with Loggs, 
under the Rampart, all this being com- 
posed of Heavy workmanship, besides the 
lodgings for the Officers, and Storehouses 
for Indian Goods. 

The Consequences, that may attend, this 
post being attacked, if only half, or two 
thirds Compleated. 

And lastly, the Practicability of executing the post, 
before the Winter sets in, must still further be judged, 
not only, by the Number of Artificers, that would be 
Requisite, to compleat it, in due time, but by con- 
sidering, It is one of the Reasons, (inter Alia,) His 
Excellency, General Abercrombie Himself, gives, for 
laying aside the Scheme of Building a Fort there — By 

Observing as follows "Besides, when I Recollect, 

how far the Season is advanced, and that it is not 
likely, that by beginning a Fort * now, it would be 
finished, against the Winter, & consequently not of the 
use proposed. 

* I beg it may be remembered that I have concluded 
the Post Order'd, to be Fort. 

NB The Exterior Circuit of Fort Edward is nearly 
1564 Ft and as I am informed, took nearly Two 
Seasons to build it And the Exterior Circuit of the 
Fort Proposed, will be nearly 1420 Ft. 7 

Colonel Montressor answered Captain Green's 
comments in this brief reply: 

The orders for building a Post or Fort at Oneida 
Carrying place were so plain that they did not seem 
to warrant any Explanation, except in the Scituation, 
wch not being exactly the figure of Course is subjected 
to it, and tho' called a square, has often its four sides 
unequal!, and as part may be unattainable by a swamp, 
morass &ca. that side has a Parapet and Rampart less 
strong that the others and without a Ditch, all those 
alterations and changes are left to the Engineer. 

As to its Execution, Amongst the number of Troops 
on the Mohawk River, there are no doubt carpenters 
more than sufficient who understand that business. 

2d. The winter sets in there as oyer [other] parts of 
the Province of New York, and not sooner; and as to 
the Practibility of Executing this post or Fort before 
the winter Major Eyers began Fort Wm Henry in 
Sept. and it was finished by the end of Novr following 
being an irregular square of about 300 ft each side 
with Provincials along and without any Expense. 8 

lo Fori i\ 

Genera] Abercromby had obviously intended 
that the new station at the Carrying Place be a 
rather modes! affair, less extensive and permanent 
than what would be ordinarily considered a fort. 
Both Montressor and Green projected a more 
ambitious undertaking: a fortification that included 
curtains, bastions, ramparts, barracks, magazine, 
and storehouses. In spite of his doubt about his 
authority to have such a "fort" constructed, the 
genera] soon accepted the implications inherent in 
the proposals and referred to the project as a fort. 
Abercromby also realized, along with Stanwix, 
that the engineers were in essential agreement in 
their proposals, with Green's remarks representing 
"rather a Protraction on his Part to put that 
Plan into Execution, than any valid reasoning to 
invalidate its taking place." He proceeded to author- 
ize Stanwix to order Green to begin construction" 
without any further Delay." 9 

Several problems attended getting work on the 
new fortification under way. In the first place. 
Captain Green's health was not equal to the task 
of directing the construction. General Stanwix 
asked that Montressor be detailed to work with 
the captain, a request that fortunately was not 
granted, since in his next letter Stanwix wrote: 
I lonel Montressor's letter to Captain Green has 
given him the greatest shock the poor man was 
very ill before this proposal has almost killed 
him." "' Abercromby replaced Green with Lt. John 
Williams, noting "that he is acquainted with that 
Part of the Country. & Accustomed to the method 
of working in it. besides from Capt Greens bad 
state of health, and the difficulties he stated to 
former Plan, which was not near so extensive, it is 
morrally [sic] certain he would not execute it with- 
in the proper time." " 

S condly, the refortification of the Great 
( 'arrying Place was only one part of the operations 
planned for redeeming British interests in the 
Iroquois country I t Col. John Bradstreet's plan 
for attacking Fort Frontenac had been revived, and 
much of General Stanwix's attention was directed 
toward assisting in collecting men and having them 
read) to move up the Mohawk to the Carrying 
Place, where they were assembled preparatory to 
marching westward toward 1 ake Ontario. A total 
of 5.600 men was intended for the Mohawk- 
Ontario area, of whom 3.600 would accompany 

Istreet and 2.000 would be employed in build- 
ing the new fort.' -' Desertions and sick lists lowered 

the effective numbers to the point where Bradstreet 
ended up with less than 3,000 men and Stanwix 
had to carry on the construction with a much 
smaller force than he believed necessary. i:t 

Lieutenant Williams, the newly assigned 
engineer, joined Stanwix on August 14; and, in 
spite of the general's pessimism about prospects of 
carrying out the work within the time available 
and with the provisions on hand and at Schenectady 
within a few days he began work on the site marked 
out within entrenchments that had been laid out by 
Major Eyres, Abercromby's assistant engineer.'' 1 
Horatio Gates, a survivor of Braddock's defeat and 
future victor at Saratoga, became the brigade 
major, responsible for the administrative details of 
the force at the Carrying Place. 

Work got under way at a pace that must have 
been gratifying to General Stanwix. The first log 
for the new fort was laid on August 26, and ten 
days later the commander wrote: 

we have finished the foundation of the fort inside & 
outside & tyed the work the work wfijth retaining Logs 
& half way round the second tier of logs, are pretty 
forward with a Magazine in one of the Bastions & laid 
the foundations of two of the Curtains for Casemats 
fsic] for the Barracks, have got 40000 Bricks ready to 
Burn for the Chimneys & propose another Kiln of 
100000, if the Weather will allow, in a weeks time 
shall have a Saw Mill Completed wch. will furnish us 
plentifully with Boards & plank, and have got ready 
a great quantity of shingles for Covering such huts & 
other Buildings as we shall be able to erect & are not 
without hopes if we get back our men from Col. 
Bradstreets Enterprize in any time to make tollerable 
( over for 400 men for the winter & this Fort will take 
I view that number at least to defend it as our Bastions 
are very large & when a Ditch & Glacis is Completed 
will take up all the height oi this fine spot & as Oswego 
is by you in one of Your letters proposed to be the 
principle Fortification this will I think answer every 
purpose if we can in time make it Tenable, in which 
all pains & industry shall be made upon it. 18 

While Lieutenant Williams was making such 
praise-worthy progress, important news reached 
the Carrying Place. Colonel Bradstreet had cap- 
tured the French fort at Cataraqui (present 
Kingston, Ontario) on August 27 and had burned 
it and the ships moored there. 1 ,; 

At about the time news from the west reached 
Stanwix. Lieutenant Williams received a letter 
from Colonels Montressor and Eyres directing him 
to stop following the plan that he had been 

History 1 1 

using and follow one that had been considered 
earlier. General Stanwix had favored the one that 
Montressor and Eyres were now endorsing, but the 
lieutenant argued that changing plans at that point 
would preclude making the fort tenable in time for 
its use during the winter. The general recorded 
how the matter was resolved on the spot in the 
following manner: 

that we might not lett half our time be misspent in 
doing nothing I desired that Williams & Green would 
examine the ground & form something in which we 
might have a possibility of succeeding before the 
Winter wch. would cover in that season 400 men & so 
far to finish it that no insults might be feared from 
small Arms, of which Williams sent Montressor a 
plan and we have proceeded upon it as I desired Mr. 
Williams in his post Script to say that I determined to 
try how far we are to proceed upon it, the body of 
the place will not be large but Bastions will contain — 
Room for the Guns Eight in Each Bastion which with 
the Advantage of the Situation and guns sufficient for 
the post will make it pretty Strong I am told every 
way preferable to Fort Edward, and if it is thought 
hereafter not respectable a Fortification may be made 
to which this as it is the highest ground may serve 
for a good Cittydel [sic] but as I always doubt my own 
judgment I called all the Colonels to gether who were 
unanimously of Opinion to proceed on what we have 
now been about in preparing & executing near a month 
wch I think to pick to pieces would be discouraging 
for such Troops who are already but indifferently 
inclined to work for no pay, I inclose the Colonels 
Opinion to you tho I am Confident you will always be 
so good to me as to believe I shall ever do that wch 
occurs to me to comply with yur commands & do 
every thing possible wth me to forward the Service. 

Col Montressor's plan wch has all along been 

My Favorite had it been thought practicable in the 
time, he Calculates it to be executed by 2000 men in 
three months, for this Month past I could never get 
above 400 men to Work out of the Troops here fit for 
duty wch has never exceeded 1100. Guards Piquets 
Covering partys & perpetual Scouts taking up the rest, 
including a Capt: & three Subs, with 130 Men I am 
obliged to employ on the Mohawks River as Batteau 
men between this and Schenectady. 17 

General Abercromby responded to Stanwix's 
letter telling him of the decision to continue building 
the fort according to Williams' plan following 
terse terms: "All I shall say upon it is, that — now 
the Men which were with Colo. Bradstreet 
are — Returned, I expect that Lieut. Williams will 

fullfill his Engagement, and so far finish the Present 
Fort, as to take tolerable Lodgements for 400 
Men, and tenable against Musquetry for the 
Ensuing Winter, — upon Failure of which he must 
be answerable for the Consequences." 18 

This exchange between the generals helps 
identify some of the problems that attended build- 
ing the fort. One source of trouble — one so com- 
mon that it easy to overlook — was the product of 
geography. Abercromby's headquarters during much 
of the autumn was at Lake George. Eyres was on 
his personal staff and usually at headquarters. 
Montressor was near-by at Fort Edward; and 
Stanwix and Williams were at the headwaters of 
the Mohawk. By the water route, the distance 
between Oneida Station and Lake George was 
approximately 160 miles, no great distance by 
twentieth century standards, but in a primitive 
environment the time consumed in exchanging 
correspondence was a matter of days. 

Another problem, one closely related to 
distance, was that of supply. All of the tools and 
provisions had to be conveyed up the Mohawk 
from Schenectady, a time-consuming operation 
when the supplies were in stock; and if the stores 
in the depot lacked what was needed, the problem 
was compounded. Then, too, men were required to 
man the batteaus, four officers and 130 men, 
according to Stanwix's report. 

Another drain on Stanwix's available man 
power was the necessity to provide for the security 
of his station. Reconnaissance parties were con- 
stantly on patrol to guard against surprise, for he 
dared not relax his vigilance, even after Bradstreet's 
success on Lake Ontario. Pickets, camp guards, 
and covering parties for the work details sent into 
the woods to cut timber limited the number of men 
who could be working on the construction. Sick- 
ness, injuries, and malingering took their toll. Prior 
to the return of Bradstreet's column, the largest 
number of men that Stanwix had on duty was 1,100 
of whom never more than 400 were available for 
work on the fort. 

The return of the troops from Lake Ontario 
made more men available, but they were less 
numerous than the generals and Montressor had 
expected, as Stanwix's letter to Abercromby of 
September 29 demonstrated: 

you will perceive the great falling off of our members 
of wch you will of Lt. Col Bradstreets see near a 
thousand, numbers of wch are dead or dying dayly 

2 Fort Stanwix 

for . . . that Enterprize was perform'd with so much 
expedition & fatigue that few could well bear it, & I 
believe his great sweep was wholy owing to it. So that 
of the 5600 men you ordered for the services only 
2750 remained fit for duty the 20th of the month 
near one half, & the sick list increasing very fast wch 
is supposed to be owing to their living wholy upon 
salt pork without pease, roots or greens. 1 '' 

In spite of the limited number of men available. 
General Stanwix expected to have the new fort 
ready for 400 men and secure against small arms 
by the first of December. 

As the autumn advanced, the euphoria resulting 
from Bradstreet's success dissipated under persistent 
rumors that the French and their allies were about 
to avenge themselves upon the western frontier. Sir 
William Johnson and General Stanwix warned 
Abercromby that friendly Indians were bringing 
frequent news of approaching attacks. 2 " The force 
at the Carrying Place was vulnerable to attacks on 
working parties and batteau men; and a large 
French and Indian force could threaten the camp 
by attack or, less probable, isolation. The settle- 
ments from German Flats eastward to west of 
Schenectady were in greater danger. Stanwix's 
troops were the keystone of the defense of the 
Mohawk frontier, and General Abercromby wrote 
their commander: 

it — becomes necessary for You to be on Your Guard 
and to keep out constant Scouts to bring You In- 
telligence oi the Motions not only of the French, but 
our supposed faithful Allies the Six Nations', For 
which Purpose You will send out a Scout somewhat 
stronger .... to follow Luttridge the Day after his 
Departure from you, and give them the same Instruc- 
tions with this Difference that they are to avoid 
Luttridge's Tracts [tracks], by which means I should 
hope you will discover the Intentions of the Enemy 
both publick and secret: And to enable You to 
frustrate their Designs the better. I have order'd 
I raser's Battalion of Highlanders, lately returned 
\\ ith M ( i [ Major ( ieneral] Amherst from the Eastward 
to join you forthwith. I should have sent You a 
stronger Reinforcement. Hut I am apprehensive You 
will not have Provisions enough to maintain them at 
present However, as from the Applications that have 
repeatedlj been made to the Agent Victualers for this 
Month past to supply this Deficiency, there is Reason 
to hope the) will soon be provided with a proper 
Quantity, if You find it necessary, you shall, upon 
Requisition, be further Strengthened, either from the 
I loops here, or the Regiments that are come with the 
Roval. Vizi the 17th. 47th. 48th. & 63d. which arc all 

encamped at Albany, and are stoped [sic] there, as it 
has not been judged Advisable or practicable to 
employ them this Season this Way, by Reason of it's 
being too far advanced, and the Enemy from repeated 
Intelligence too well prepared for our reception. 21 

Stanwix had asked Headquarters for additional 
cannon, and Abercromby replied: 

the proportion of Ordnance for the Defence of your 
Post . . . has been laid before the proper Officer, and 
it is found far beyond what is requisite, nevertheless, 
had it been in my Power to furnish you with it. I 
shou'd not have objected to sending it: but it seems 
we have no more than two 18 Pounders Iron at 
Albany that have Carriages: it is true there are more 
at Schenectady, but as they want Carriages they can 
be of no Use to You at present I have sent Orders to 
Mr. Furnis at New York, to make Application to the 
I ieut. Ciovr: They certainly might spare some from 
thence, and they are sufficiently interested in the 
Defence of the Frontiers not to refuse them: but I 
do not find they are much inclined to do anything for 
themselves, and. as is customary in this Country 
wou'd willingly exempt themselves from any Share 
in the Means to secure themselves. 22 

Rumors of hostile activity continued to reach 
General Abercromby at Lake George; and in 
addition to the Highlanders, the Second Battalion 
of the Royal Regiment was ordered to the Mohawk. 
When a report reached Headquarters that Stanwix's 
camp was invested. Colonel Benton of the Royal 
Regiment ordered the Battalion's grenadier and 
light infantry companies to march from Greenbush 
to Schenectady to be ready to proceed to the 
Oneida Carrying Place, if the report proved to be 

The fear of a Franco-Indian attack and 
approaching winter made the completion and 
arming of the fort increasingly urgent. Both 
Abercromby and Stanwix urged the lieutenant 
governor of New York to use his influence to 
obtain cannon, and an effort was made to purchase 
pieces brought into New York City by privateers.- 1 

The reconnaissance patrols that went out from 
Oneida returned with conflicting reports: some 
claimed that they had seen the enemy, while others 
reported no evidence of either French or hostile 
Indian parties. Stanwix continued to fear that the 
enemy intended to "disturb our Works." although 
the Indians at Oneida Castle told him that his 
position was so strong that there was nothing to 
fear from anv hostiles in the area. As the autumn 

History 13 

advanced, Stanwix held his breath, hoping that no 
attack would be made before his fort was ready for 
winter. On October 22 he expressed himself as 

if we hear nothing certain of any strong Armament 
with Artillery between this & the beginning of 
November we may give up all expectation of any 
unseasonable Visit for this approaching winter, wch 
will enable us to carry our Fort all round en barbet 
cover our Casmets [sic] for 400 men & Complete our 
Ditch & Glassic [sic], and I am hopeful I shall be 
able to leave here six months provisions for that 
number, 250 beds will be wanting & absolutely neces- 
sary as the Company of Rangers are to stay wch I 
can well accomodate in good huts without the works.- 5 

Artillery for the new fort continued to be the 
subject of considerable concern for both Stanwix 
and Abercromby. The former had submitted 
"calculations" that members of the latter's staff 
considered excessive; and while there were tubes 
in the Schenectady depot, there were no carriages, 
which meant that there was no artillery immedi- 
ately available. As has been noted, appeals were 
made to the lieutenant governor, and attempts were 
made to purchase cannon from privateers. On 
October 22 Stanwix was still trying to get the guns 
that his post needed. At Abercomby's suggestion, 
he wrote to Lieutenant Governor De Lancy asking 
him to use his good offices in persuading the 
province to contribute six each 18-pounders, 
12-pounders, 9-pounders, and 6-pounders, with 
8,000 shot for each piece of ordnance, promising 
him that the province would be reimbursed with 
guns from England or Louisbourg. He also wrote 
Abercromby that he believed some of the Louisbourg 
cannon should be sent to the Onedia post. 

General Stanwix was especially eager to have 
armament on hand because the fort was ready to 
accommodate the cannon. By October 22, a bomb- 
proof magazine with a capacity of 2,000 barrels 
had been installed under the southeast bastion. 
Other work accomplished included "seven good 
Hutts, Brick chimneys. Shingled floor'd & lined 
with — and at least two good Glass windows in 
each & very sufficient for twenty one officers." The 
general lived in one "and never desire a warmer a 
more comfortable or better room, and 'tis by much 
the worst of them." 

Although the work was progressing, it was 
far from being free of problems. The reports of 
hostile activity had hindered construction: 

&in order to get forward was obliged to send for some 
Carpenters, & Mr. Dice has been of infinite use to us, 
but experience of this Sort when works are carried to 
a Certain degree of perfection are seldom found . . . 
these troops at first produced but few Carpenters and 
now the woods become Cold & Wet scarce at all, and 
indeed there is such a surprizing falling of[f] from 
the working men of these Battalions that from 5600 
intend'd for the service this way that not 1500 left fit 
for duty & these I am sending down sick in Boat loads 
every day. I think all the provincials whilst with me 
have behaved well but they are really worn out, work'd 
down & fairly jaded with Fatigue, to wch the Batteau 
Service and Caderaqui [Bradstreet's expedition] has 
not a little Contributed — -Colonel Williams & Colo 
Dotty's Boston Battalions their time is out the First 
of November and they begin to be impatient to be 
gone Jersey Regiment: their time out the 15th of 
November: no time fix'd for the New York or Rhode 
Islanders but end with the Campaign, please as soon 
as you can — let me know when these severl [sic] 
Regiments are to be dismiss'd. 26 

Stanwix's personal situation was serious — more 
so than the correspondence might indicate. He had 
been ordered to use only the provincial soldiers in 
the construction, partly for reasons of economy and 
because Abercromby and Montressor believed that 
a number of troops had experience as carpenters. 
While probably many of the men knew something 
about domestic carpentry, few if any had ever 
engaged in a major construction at all comparable 
to building a fort. Of course, most of them were 
capable of cutting timber and digging ditches, and 
that was the work that required the most hands. 

As we have seen, military duties and sickness 
contributed their share in slowing construction. But 
as winter approached, all of the problems were 
compounded by weather, the necessity of getting 
the post ready for winter, and the expiration of the 
troops' terms of service. While the terms of the 
Massachusetts levies were extended for 15 days by 
the provincial council, the situation was critical and 
it never was appreciably eased, because alarms 
continued to demand extraordinary security meas- 
ures; and civilian carpenters were in scarce supply 
on the frontier and those in Albany and Schenectady 
were probably less than eager to work under the 
conditions of danger and discomfort that prevailed. 

On October 30 Abercromby wrote to Stanwix 
from Albany concerning the final stages of the 
year's work and plans for the winter: 

I see with Pleasure the Forwardness your present Post 

14 J ui i Slanwix 

was in, and that we may expect by the 2d or 3d. of 
next Month to have it so far finished, as to lodge and 
Cover it's intended Garrison against every Insult, but 
Artillery, which I join in Opinion with you, there will 
soon be no Room to apprehend anything from, as the 
Season advances last in which the Roads will render 
it impracticable for the Enemy to bring any against 
it. — I have given Direction for the providing of the 
Beds, Snow Shoes, & Provisions You say will be 
necessary and the D.Q.M.G. is to see them worthwith 
sent up. — With Regard to the Proportion of Ordnance 
& its Attviail, I am sorry it is not in my Power to 
furnish You with the Whole of Your Demands, since 
you remain of Opinion that You cou'd well dispose 
of it: Notwithstanding my Requisition to the Lieut. 
Governor; backed by Your very proper Letter to the 
same Purpose, we have not been able to obtain more 
than ten 12 and two 9 Pounders, Iron — Ordanance, 
mounted on Garrison Carriages, which Mr. Furniss 
by his Letter of the 23d. was to ship the next day for 
this — whence, so soon as it Arrives it shall be 
forwarded to You: and so soon as Capt. Ord come 
down here, which will be in a few Days, I shall settle 
with him the Officers and Men — of the Department 
under his command, that can be spared for the 
Oneida Station: but I must observe to you, that they 
will fall far short of what You ask, as I have not in 
mj Department, above 80 Men of that Branch, out 
of which some are to remain here and others to be 
left at Fort Edward. 

As I see that You Convenience, and intend to hut the 
Rangers. I suppose You propose the Garrison shou'd 
consist of 400 Regulars exclusive of them and the 
Small Detachment of Artillery, and as I intend that 
( do. I laser's Battalion should furnish that Garrison 
you will either leave them be Detachment or Com- 
panies as you see best, and the Remainder of that 
Battalion, I am inform'd by Colo. Bradstreet can be 
very well cantoned in the District of Conajohary & 
Stone Arabia, which Justice Fry has promised the 
Deputy Or. Mr. Gen. to prepare and hold in Readiness 
for them. 

I have had a letter from Lieut. Williams, desiring that 
he might be relieved, but as I have nobody in that 
Branch, whose Department is not already settled & 
of Nowise none to send in his Room, You will please 
to tell him that he must remain there, and indeed 
nobodj cm be more proper for it than himself, as he 
will be at hand so soon as the Weather permits to 
finish the Work. 

With Regard to the provincial Troops, you may dis- 
miss them so soon as Your Works will permit: 
particularly the Massachusetts & Rhode Island People. 
who have a long Ways home and the Roads daily 
growing had; besides which, the Bostoners, who were 

with me, are already on their March, which I dare 
say will make Your's plead hard for their Discharge: 
The sooner they were all gone, would be but better, as 
it wou'd be a great Saving in the Article of Provisions, 
especially in the present Scarcity; However, so long 
as You can not do without them to finish the Fort 
fit for the Reception of the Garrison, You must keep 
them: But at the same Time, such of them as are sick 
and unfit for Duty, might very well be sent Down 
immediately as otherwise they will consume a great 
Quantity of Provisions to no Manner of Purpose. 
The Troops destined to be under Your Command this 
Winter, and those going Down, will be here I expect 
in a few Days, where I shall likewise be glad to see 
you, so soon as you can conveniently leave Your 
present Post.- 7 

By mid-November 1758 Stanwix's work at 
Oneida Station was completed, and he moved his 
headquarters to Albany, where he commanded the 
troops posted on the Mohawk and in northern 
New York. 

The first description of the fort that has 
survived is Colonel Montressor's, which together 
with a copy of the plan, shows the fort's situation 
at the close of the first season's work. The Colonel 

This fort was begun the 23d 1758 by the troops under 
the Command of Brigdr Genl. Stanwix and finished 
en Barbette 28 as Represented in the draught of Novr 
18, 1758 the yellow shows what parts are unfinished 
A is a small creek wch runs southward and has its 
head from three springs 500 yards above the Fort. B. 
The Road from the Landings Place on the Mohawk 
River over the Carrying place to Fort Niewport. C. a 
section thro DE taking in the Ditch the Common 
breadth of 40 and not the Breadth as it is upon the 
middle of the Curtain. The fort is built on a Level 
spot of Ground Compund of Pebble Stone mixed wt 
Gravel and Sand is to the Eastward and Southward 19 
ft. above the Level of the Swamps and Low Lands. 
To the Northward the Ground is much on a Level with 
the fort, but to the Westward it descends gradually 
for three Quarters of a Mile to Fort Niewport to 
the Common Level of the Swamps. To the West, North 
and Eastward, the woods are Cleared between 3 and 
400 hund[re]d yards and to the Southward 700 yards. 
FA Magazine 65 foot long by 1 6 ft wide Bomb Proof. 
The loggs of wch the fort is built are generally 2 ft 
thick, flatted on the upper and under sides. The 
Casementes fsicl (at present Barracks) are covered 
wt two teer of Square timber from 1 2 to 24 Ins thick 
as Represented in the Profil. 29 

The colonel's description is very useful and 

History 1 5 

probably represents as good a picture of the fort as 
can be had. However, it and the drawing must be 
used with some caution. For instance, they do not 
include the seven "hutts" for officers that Stanwix 
mentioned in his letter of October 22. Secondly, he 
described the fort as being completed 'en Barbette," 
but the plan shows forty-three embrasures. Thirdly, 
there is a contemporary, though much less de- 
tailed, plan that was enclosed in a letter from 
General Abercromby to Prime Minister William 
Pitt, dated November 25, 1758, that gives different 
dimensions. The plan that accompanied Montressor's 
description gave the length between the points of 
the bastions as 350 feet. The one that accompanied 
Abercromby's letter showed a distance of 330 
feet. 30 An explanation of the differences may be 
that both represent preliminary plans — not actual 
construction drawings. 

The 400 men from Fraser's Highlanders and 
the detail of Royal Artillery spent the winter of 
1758-59 in the new fort, while the Ranger detach- 
ment occupied huts in a camp outside its walls. It 
was a strong force for the Carrying Place, and the 
frontier west of German Flats was more secure 
than it had been since before the opening of 

Somewhat against his wishes, John Williams 
remained at Fort Stanwix, as the new post was 
coming to be termed, in order to be on hand to 
complete the work whenever the weather permitted. 
Sometime during the winter or summer, he pre- 
pared a plan entitled "Plan of Fort Stanwix Built 
at Oneida Station. By Provincial Troops in 1758." 
This probably represents the first attempt to present 
an "as built" depiction of the fort by one who not 
only knew it first hand but was its construction 
superintendent, and it may be the most important 
single document relating to the original building of 
the fort. 

Williams' plan shows a bastioned fort with 
the points of the bastions forming a square 335 
feet to the side. The walls were constructed of logs 
laid crib fashion to a height of nine feet on the 
outside and eleven feet on the inside of the curtains. 
Their thickness at the base was slightly more than 
20 feet and at the top 18 feet. The southeast 
bastion, under which the magazine was located, 
was nine feet on the outside and \5Vi on the 
inside. The other three bastions may have had 
higher ramparts than the curtains, but this is not 
reflected in the plan. The bastions were 120 feet 

deep, with two sides ca. 38 feet long and two 90 
feet. The curtains measured ca. 140 feet. The 
sally-port, about ten feet wide, was located in the 
center of the south curtain. Another, narrower 
gateway about five feet wide in the east curtain gave 
access to the covered way and thence to the creek. 

Inside the fort were four casemates, the roofs 
of which formed the terreplein for the curtains. 
These were log structures, built to a height of ten 
feet in front and approximately eight and a half in 
the rear. The external depth from the front to 
the curtain wall was approximately 20 feet. The 
northern and western casemates extended 119 feet 
in front and 145 in the rear. The other two case- 
mates were divided by the sally-port and east gate. 
The south-western one measured 50 by 60 feet; 
the south-eastern 58 by 60; the east-southern 58 
feet square; and the east-northern 52 by 60. The 
northern and western casemates were divided into 
three sets of quarters, each with a door and three 
windows opening onto the parade. The southern 
casemates consisted of one unit per structure, each 
with a door and six windows. The eastern ones 
consisted of one unit per structure, each with a 
door and four windows. Each unit was heated by 
a fire-place with a brick chimney that extended 
above the terreplein. 

Nineteen huts were located in the parade, 
most of them officer' quarters, but one or more 
may have been kitchens. The plan does not provide 
details, but General Stanwix described the one he 
occupied as being one of the "worst," saying that 
they had brick chimneys, were shingled, floored, 
and having at least two glass windows. 31 

The magazine was located beneath the south- 
east bastion. It was a bomb-proofed structure, 
measuring on the inside ca. 69 by 19 feet. 

Except a distance of approximately 150 feet 
where the bastions stood within less than 45 feet 
of the stream, a ditch, 21 feet wide at the top and 
eight at the bottom, extended around the fort. A 
row of eight to ten feet high posts stood upright 
in the ditch. A similar palisade formed a V in front 
of the sally-port. The spoil from the ditch was 
piled against the walls of the fort and as a glacis 
outside the ditch. A "Necessary house" (latrine), 
reached by an elevated walk, stood over a portion 
of the stream opposite the south-east bastion. At 
the end of the ditch opposite the north-east bastion, 
a covered way led to the water. 32 

Another season of construction began at 

16 Fort Stanwix 








V of Fore STANV 



if * — 

Plan of Fort Stanwise [Stanwix]. Colonial Office. Public Records Office, 5/50, Transcript. Manuscript 
Division, Librarv of Congress. 

History 17 

Fort Stanwix during July 1759, and the work 
that was accomplished during that year was re- 
corded in a "Plan of Fort Stanwix Showing what 
Works were done at that Post — from July to 
December 1759." 33 Among the additions were two 
huts for the officers, bringing the total in the 
Parade to 21. Chimneys were completed or replaced 
for some of the officers' quarters. New bedsteads 
were installed in the casemates. Six cannon plat- 
forms were installed on the bastions. The parapet 
of the north-west "flag" bastion was raised four 
feet, embrasures created, and a firing step installed. 
The ramparts of all the bastions were raised. The 
ditch was widened to 26 feet at the bottom and 40 
at the top. The parapet of the curtains was raised 
by placing barrels and horizontal logs on the 
parapets of the curtains. A floor was installed in 
the magazine, and a cellar for garden stuff was 
built under the south-east bastion. Horizontal 
pickets were installed on the north-east bastion. 

Another, apparently contemporary, plan shows 
the fort with the same features, minus the 
"Necessary" and covered way to the stream and 
without a ditch on the eastern side. The "flag" 
bastion is shown with embrasures. A store-house, 
with its western end palisaded, is shown west of the 
fort. This plan shows a much smaller fort with the 
sides of the square formed by the bastions only ca. 
230 feet long, which probably means that the 
indicated scale of 1 inch to 100 feet is in error. 34 

While Fort Stanwix took form, William Pitt 
prosecuted the war with the vigor, boldness, and 
imperial vision that won him a place in history. As 
Brigadier John Forbes advanced westward, the 
French blew up Fort Duquesne. Forbes died shortly 
thereafter, and General Stanwix replaced him with 
orders to consolidate the British victory in the Ohio 
Valley. Louisburg fell, and its victor, Jeffrey 
Amherst, replaced Abercromby as commander-in- 
chief. James Wolfe distinguished himself at Louis- 
burg and was given the command that led him to 
Quebec and immortality. Back in London, Pitt was 
preparing plans for the expulsion of the French 
from North America that astonished some of his 
fellows and must have made General Amherst 
wonder whether His Majesty's minister knew what 
he proposed: Invade Canada, launch an attack 
along the southern frontier, re-establish the fort at 
Oswego — even attack Fort Niagara. The last was 
accomplished in late spring and summer of 1759, 
and Brigadier John Prideaux's and Sir William 

Johnson's forces passed the new fort on their way 
to Lake Ontario and Niagara. 

In the meantime, money and labor were being 
expended in improving Fort Stanwix. In 1761 it 
was still unfinished, with completion anticipated the 
following year. Yet, even as it was being completed, 
its importance was diminishing. The defeat of the 
French in the west and the termination of hostilities 
reduced the purpose of the fort to showing the flag 
among the Iroquois. By 1761 the garrison was 
down to fifty men. 35 

By the end of the war, the fort was a strong post 
with massive log and earthen walls built up so 
that all the bastions and curtains were capped by 
embrasured parapets. The ditch on the eastern side 
was apparently filled in, but a stockade extended 
along that face. Two ravelins, one covering the 
sally-port and a smaller one for the gate leading to 
the stream, were constructed betwerf 1759 and 
1 764. The officers' huts were replaced by two build- 
ings measuring 120 by 20 feet -md one measuring 
35 by 20. 3fi 

The Peace of Paris ended the Seven Years 
War in 1763, and Britain's attention turned from 
conquest to consolidating and administering the 
Empire. For the American Colonies, that meant 
the end of "salutary neglect," and Parliament took 
a more active interest in making the colonies 
contributing members of the Empire. A series of 
acts flowed out of London affecting trade, customs, 
colonial administration, land speculation, and 
Indian affairs; and most of them collided with an 
American interest. The product was the American 
Revolution that ended with independence and the 
new nation's inheriting most of the problems that 
had caused the separation. But that gets ahead of 
our story of Fort Stanwix. 

However, as a part of the military establish- 
ment on the frontier, the fort shared the historic 
scene. As has been noted, its primary function after 
the elimination of the French threat was to provide 
for an imperial presence in the Iroquois country, 
particularly among the Oneidas. The Indians' 
response to that presence was mixed. Insofar as it 
encouraged increased trade, they favored the 
existence of posts that would facilitate such com- 
mercial contacts. On the other hand, the Indians 
had acquiesced in the building of Fort Stanwix and 
other installations on the condition that they would 
be demolished after the war. 37 The maintenance of 
the forts during the post-war years was a source of 

18 Fort Stanwix 

irritation to the Iroquois that Sir William Johnson 
had to cope with in his relations with the tribes. At 
the same time, forces were working that made a 
wholesale abandonment of the war-time forts 
unthinkable. The western tribes, resentful of official 
arrogance, the dishonesty of traders, and their 
exclusion from consultation when the French sur- 
rendered the western posts, and fearful of the 
advancing English settlements, plotted to expel the 

In the spring of 1763, the western frontier 
erupted into war along a thousand-mile front. One 
after another, the posts in the formerly French 
territory fell, until only Fort Pitt, Detroit, and 
Niagara stood fast. Frontier settlements were 
ravaged, and according to some accounts, more 
people died in 1763 than in 1759, at the height of 
the Seven Years' War. Not until July 1766, when 
Sir William met the hostiles in a council at Oswego, 
did the war end with acknowledgement of British 
sovereignty and Pontiac's pardon. 38 

With the frontier ablaze, the British would not 
abide by the promise to demilitarize the inter- 
mediate zone just east of the frontier. Instead of 
destroying Fort Stanwix, attention was directed 
toward its repair. Engineer Lt. George Demler 
inspected it and found it in a surprisingly bad state. 
I lie southeast bastion, which covered the magazine 
and cellar, was in an especially dilapidated condi- 
tion, with its "whole Face fallen down." The 
western half of the south curtain and the southwest 
bastion were "so rotten that they can not stand 
over this winter." The casemates were uninhabitable 
and beyond repair. 1 ' 1 

The lieutenant began repairing the fort on 
Juyl I. 1764. The work was carried on by civilian 
artificers and laborers, and by the end of the 
season f 1 40— 5s.— I Od., New York currency, had 
been expended and a surprising amount of repair 
accomplished. 40 During that time the southeast 
and southwest bastions and the curtains were re- 
paired and made en barbette. The casemates were 
rebuilt, and chimneys installed in the officers' 
barracks. The northwest and northeast bastions 
were rebuilt with embrasured parapets. A covered 
passageway from the cast gate to the small ravelin 
was built of wood and earth." The escarpment and 
covered waj (glacis) were sodded and a small 
parapet was installed on the covered way. By the 
end of the year, work remained to be done on the 
southern bastions, the parapet on the southeast end 

of the covered way, the earthen part of the covered 
passage to the eastern ravelin, and the closing of 
the northeast end of the ditch by completing the 
covered way. 1 - Whether these were completed 
during subsequent periods of work is uncertain. 
More money was expended in early 1765 and in 
1767. Yet on May 27 of the latter, Maj. Gen. 
Thomas Gage recommended to the Secretary of 
State, the Earl of Shelburne, that Stanwix be 
abandoned "in order to lessen expenses." The fort 
was in ruins and not important enough to merit 
repairs necessary to make it tenable. He proposed 
to withdraw the small garrison and leave the fort 
in the care of an "old half-pay officer" on the con- 
dition that he should return everything to the 
Crown when "required for the King's service." 43 
The next year, John Lees, a Quebec merchant, 
wrote in his Journal, describing the fort as a "neat 
little fortification built of wood & fitt to garrison 3 
Regiments' but it fis] now falling all to ruins. There 
is a half pay officer with a Corporal & his men 
that keep Possession of it, intended chiefly for 
forwarding Expresses to the Officers at the upper 
Forts: the country is entirely unsettled round this 
Fort.—" 44 

Thus by the year of the great Indian congress 
that negotiated the Treaty of Fort Stanwix the fort 
had become a dilapidated inactive post. Although 
it is not the purpose of this monograph to provide 
an in-depth study of that treaty, a brief account is 
in order. 

Britain's victory over her arch-rival, France, 
had expelled that power from the North American 
mainland, leaving her with greatly expanded pos- 
sessions, incorporating not only Canada and 
Florida, but also the vast region between the 
Appalachians and the Mississippi River, a region 
rich in lands and furs and inhabited by Indian 
tribes, some of which had been active allies of 
France. To the government in Whitehall, this 
acquisition was a valuable territory that required 
imperial policies that would provide for the orderly 
settlement of western lands and peaceful relations 
with the Indians. To those ends, the king issued the 
Proclamation of 1763 that imposed a temporarv 
settlement west of a line that ran north and south 
along the crest of the Appalachians, reiterating a 
pledge made to the western tribes in the Treaty of 
Faston (1758) to respect native claims and to 
refrain from settling on them without the Indians' 

History 19 

The Proclamation offended important Ameri- 
can interests and values. The ignorance of its 
authors had left several hundred whites west of the 
Proclamation Line in Indian territory. More fun- 
damental was its violation of the common-sense 
American belief, amounting to an article of faith, 
that white men were destined to occupy and exploit 
western lands and that the Indians must be driven 
away or destroyed. Settlers, land speculators, and 
fur-traders competed for the new lands, but they 
agreed in opposing any form of regulation, especially 
if it emanated from London, that limited their 
freedom of action. 4 "' 

The inherent weaknesses of the policy that 
produced the Proclamation and pressure from 
economy-minded members of Parliament, greedy 
speculators, and disgruntled traders forced the 
British government to revise its frontier policy. A 
shake-up in the ministry resulted in centering con- 
trol of American affairs in the new office, Secretary 
for the Colonies, which was assumed by Lord 
Hillsborough in January 1768. 

Hillsborough prepared a set of recommendations 
that was accepted by the cabinet in March con- 
tained the first practical plan for the North 
American West yet developed. While the Indian 
superintendencics were retained, their powers were 
limited to imperial functions: land purchases from 
the tribes, readjustments of the Proclamation line, 
and settling diplomatic problems. Local matters, 
including regulation of the fur trade, were left in the 
control of the colonies. This made the western posts 
that had been the centers for the trade unnecessary, 
and all were abandoned except those at Detroit, 
Niagara, and Mackinac, which were retained for 
defense. Instead of establishing three western 
colonies, as had been demanded by expansionists. 
Hillsborough tried to satisfy them by ordering the 
Proclamation line shifted westward. 

General Thomas Gage, commander of the 
British army in North America, complied with the 
terms of the new policy; and within a year withdrew 
all the western garrisons except Detroit, Niagara. 
Mackinac, Fort Pitt and Fort de Chartres. The 
superintendents dismantled their elaborate trade 
establishment to the delight of the fur traders, who 
swept into the West to set up their private posts 
through the northern country. 

Orders were received by John Stuart and Sir 
William Johnson, Indian Superintendents for the 
Southern and Northern Departments respectively. 

Sir William's task was to extend the western 
boundary line from the mouth of the Great Kanawka 
River in [West] Virginia across Pennsylvania to 
the Indian village Oswego near the southern border 
of New York, leaving the troublesome problem of 
determining the bounds of the Iroquois territory to 
later negotiations. To accomplish this delicate 
undertaking, he called a congress of most of the 
northern tribes to meet at Fort Stanwix during 
November 1768. 

Johnson's action was a signal for speculators 
along the entire frontier to go into action. In 
Virginia, they pressured the government to appoint 
Dr. Thomas Walker, an active land-grabber, as the 
colony's delegate to the conference; and he set out 
for Fort Stanwix committed to open as much of 
Kentucky as possible to settlement. Pennsylvania 
officials impressed their commissioners with the 
necessity of obtaining the region between the 
Susquehanna and West Branch Rivers. In New 
York, the Indiana Company's leaders set about 
persuading Sir William to guarantee that their 
interests would profit. In June, Samuel Wharton, 
William Trent, and George Croghan met Johnson 
at New London, Connecticut, and discussed the 
best ways to ensure success; and he committed 
himself to obtaining from the Indians a specific 
grant for the Indiana Company's leaders. 

Johnson, thus, deliberately conspired to vio- 
late his instructions, which had directed him to 
ratify a line he had discussed with the tribal leaders 
in 1765. Under no circumstances, was he to en- 
large the boundary from the mouth of the Great 
Kanawka down the Ohio to the Cherokee [Ten- 
nessee] River. 

When the conference convened, 3,400 In- 
dians, commissioners from New York, Pennsyl- 
vania, Virginia, New Jersey, and Connecticut 
assembled within the dilapidated fort's walls. Lines 
were clearly drawn. On one side was the Virginia 
interest, whose objective was two-fold: to open 
Kentucky and to keep any outside company from 
exploiting that colony's back country. On the other 
was the leadership of the Indiana Company, hun- 
grily promoting their effort to obtain their grant 
in the upper Ohio, quite aware that the region lay 
within Virginia's northwest. Because of Johnson's 
association, the latter group had the advantage. 
With h>'s help, they persuaded the Iroquois to sell 
them the 1 ,800,000 acres they wanted on Novem- 
ber 3, but Virginia's consent was required. Walker 

20 Fort Stanwix 

was appeased by Johnson's extending the new 
boundary line past the mouth of the Great Ka- 
nawka to the Tennessee River. This would force 
the Southern Superintendent, Stuart to redraw the 
southern part of the line in a manner that would 
open the lands of the Greenbrier and Loyal Com- 
panies to settlementt or confuse the entire bound- 
ary so completely that all the Kentucky country 
would be thrown open to unregulated speculation. 

The treaty was anti-climatic — the important 
business had already been conducted by the com- 
missioners in private, unrecorded sessions. Accord- 
ing to the terms of the treaty, signed November 5, 
the line began, not at Oswego, but near Fort 
Stanwix, then west across Pennsylvania to open the 
Susquehanna Forks area, and thence along the 
Allegheny and Ohio Rivers to the mouth of the 
I ennessee. In return for ceding their claims to the 
lands, the Indians received £10,460 in gifts. Sir 
William was aware of the fact that he had violated 
his instructions and deranged the entire boundary 
demarkation system, at the same time angering the 
Delawares, Shawnees, and Cherokces by defraud- 
ing them of their hunting lands in the Ohio coun- 
try, to which they, not the Iroquois Confederacy, 
had the better claim. He was intelligent enough to 
know that the treaty left the whole western frontier 
in turmoil. The real thrust of the treaty was re- 
vealed in the shift of the boundry to the mouth of 
the Tennessee, which showed that the line of de- 
markation could be shifted westward by any specu- 
lators with sufficient influence. The company of 
famous and near-famous men: Benjamin and Wil- 
liam Franklin, Samuel Wharton, George Croghan, 
William Trent, and Sir William Johnson, had left 
a heritage of cupidity that testified to the sordidness 
that characterized much of the history of the de- 
velopment of western lands. ir> 

Six years after the negotiation of the Treaty 
of Fort Stanwix. Governor William Tryon reported 
that fort Stanwix had been dismantled. 17 Within 
a decade and half after its establishment, the fort 
at the Oneida Carrying Place seemed to have ful- 
filled its historic mission. But a new career would 
open for it during the War for American Independ- 
ence that won it a new and more important place 
in history. 




The end of the Colonial Period found the 
western and northern portions of the Province of 
New York still in varying degrees frontier in na- 
ture. Much of the western part continued to be 
Iroqouis country. The Confederacy had lost much 
of its early strength; and its people, especially the 
Mohawks, Onandagas, and Oneidas, were becoming 
more "civilized" and dependent on the whites. The 
Mohawk Valley was thus a region where the races 
met in frequent contact, and relations between 
them was an important subject for the local people 
and the provincial government. Sir William John- 
son, who from 1756 until his death on the eve of 
the Revolution was superintendent of Indian affairs 
for the tribes north of the Ohio River, was the val- 
lley's dominant personality. Its white population 
was a mixture of German, Scottish, and English 
with a small numbei of descendants of the old colo- 
nial Dutch families. In 1772 the half of New York 
bordering on Canada and the Iroquois country, 
including all of the Mohawk Valley from about two 
miles west of Schnectady, was separated from Al- 
bany County and named Tyron County in honor of 
Governor William Tryon. 

The people of the county entered the era of 
Revolution with divided loyalties. Communities 
and families split as some members aligned them- 
selves with the rebellious colonistsi while others re- 
mained loyal to England and its provincial admin- 
istration or hoped to remain aloof from the war. 
For many the choice was agonizing as men found 
themselves forced to choose from among conflict- 
ing interests. For the Germans, with no sentimental 
ties to England, the natural choice would seem to 
have been to cast their lot with the rebels — as many 
did. However, as they had tried to do during the 
Seven Years' War, some sought neutrality in a quar- 
rel that they felt was not their concern. For others. 

remembering shabby usage by New York patricians 
like the Schuylers, who were leaders in the resist- 
ance to imperial authority, and believing that they 
were more likely to receive fair treatment from a 
royal governor than a native oligarchy, the choice 
was to be loyal to the Crown. Among them the 
Johnson influence may have been a factor. Sir 
William's wife, Sir John's mother, was a German, 
and the Palatines had found the baronet fair and 
sympathetic. The Highlanders were divided, but 
some had served in the British Army and had 
little love for the Hudson Valley grandees; and these 
remained true to their old allegiance. The English 
and Dutch settlers, mostly native-born, probably 
included more dedicated members of the "Patriot" 
party than did the other elements of the population. 
Thus to the people of the Mohawk country, the 
Revolution had many of the characteristics of a 
civil war. 

Leadership of the Loyalists centered in the fam- 
ily of Sir William Johnson. His political heirs were 
his son, Sir John : his nephew, son-in-law, and succes- 
sor to the superintendency, Guy Johnson; another 
son-in-law, Daniel Claus; and John Butler, who had 
been Sir William's deputy. Closely associated with 
them was Joseph Bryant (Thayendanega), Sir Wil- 
liam's secretary and brother of Molly Brant, his 
Mohawk mistress. Sir John, hereditary head of the 
family and of the imperial interest, undertook to 
organize the valley's Loyalists and Indians into a 
provincial force; but his efforts were thwarted, and 
he and some of his supporters were disarmed and 
placed on parole. Fearful that pro-British elements 
might yet rally on the Johnsons, the state's revolu- 
tionary leadership resolved to arrest him. When he 
learned that his family's old rival, Philip Schuyler, 
was sending a force under Colonel Dayton to carry 
out that resolution, he escaped to Canada in May 


22 Fort Stanwix 

1776, where he was commissioned a lieutenant- 
colonel and authorized to raise a loyal regiment. 

American concern for the security of the valley 
was not confined to local or provincial action. Maj. 
Gen. Philip John Schuyler, commanding general of 
the Northern Department, was aware of the re- 
gion's economical potential and its political and 
military significance. On June 8, 1776, he wrote to 
the President of the Continental Congress recom- 
mending that troops be posted at the site of Fort 
Stanwix and that the Indians be advised of 'the 
Continentals' intentions. 1 He did not wait for an 
answer from Congress before preparing to carry his 
suggestion into effect. Three days later, he informed 
General Washington that he was "preparing every- 
thing I can with utmost secrecy for taking post at 
Fort Stanwix, which 1 propose to do immediately 
after the conference with the Indians." - Congress 
did not delay considering the general's recommenda- 
tion and on Friday, June 14: 

Resolved, That General Schuyler and the other com- 
missioners for Indian affairs in the northern depart- 
ment be directed immediately to hold a conference 
with Six Nations; to engage them in our interest upon 
the best terms that can be procured, and treat with 
them on the principles and in the decisive manner 
mentioned in his letter: 
[of June 8] 

That General Schuyler's preparations for immediately 
taking post at Fort Stanwix, and erecting a fortifica- 
tion there, be approved of: and that Gen. Washington 
be instructed to give him directions for carrying that 
measure into execution.' 1 

The Commander-in-Chief complied with the 
Congress's resolution: 1 and although the Indians 
postponed negotiations, General Schuyler pushed 
preparations for occupying the Carrying Place. He 
ordered Col. Elias Dayton of the 3d New Jersey 
Regiment of the Continental Line to take post at 
Fort Stanwix with 500 men of his regiment, 150 of 
Colonel Cornelius Wynkoop's 4th New York Con- 
tinental Regiment, 75 Tryon County Militia "in- 
tended for Canada," and an additional 200 of the 
county militia. 6 

On June 26 General Schuyler gave orders for 
the shipment of supplies and artillery by batteaus 
to be commanded by Captains I ansing and Wolcott. 
Strict secrecy was enjoined, and the batteaumen 
were not to be informed of their destination. Prep- 
arations proceeded rapidly, and on July 1 the sup- 

plies began to move westward from Albany/' 
Colonel Dayton's troops assembled and reached 
their new post on July 23. In the meantime. 
Schuyler moved to German Flats to meet with the 
Indian delegations, in compliance with the Con- 
gress's June 14 resolution; and he reported that the 
occupation of the Carrying Place had not given um- 
brage to the Indians. 7 

The troops, accompanied by Engineer Na- 
thaniel Hubbell, found the fort dismantled and 
ruinous. 8 Their task was to secure the vicinity, 
serve as a center for patrols, and either rebuild the 
fort or construct a new one. General Schuyler left 
to Dayton's discretion the selection of the two alter- 
natives, telling him: "As I never was at Fort Stan- 
wix, I cannot positively recommend any particular 
place for erecting a Fortification, but from the best 
Information I have been able to procure. I am led 
to believe the Spot on which the old Fort stood, the 
most Eligible, of this you must be the Judge." 9 
The general apparently expected Dayton to build a 
new fort, either on the site of the colonial one or 
at a new location. However, he wisely left the final 
decisions of how to accomplish that part of the 
mission to the local commander. While the sur- 
viving correspondence that has been studied does 
not explicitly spell out how the colonel exercised 
his options, enough information exists to form some 

Since the Mohawk column did not arrive at its 
post until the middle of July, the commander and 
his engineer were faced with the problem of build- 
ing a fort that could be occupied during the next 
winter within a severely limited period of time. Al- 
though there were more than 900 men in the expe- 
dition, only a portion of that number could be 
employed at a given time in construction, because 
military and camp duties absorbed part of the avail- 
able man-power. The condition of the colonial fort 
was the key to the solution of their problem. If it 
could be repaired, a great saving of time could be 
realized. On the other hand, if it was too dilapi- 
dated, two alternatives remained: the fort could be 
razed and the site reused; or another location could 
be selected and prepared before new construction 
could be commenced. Two questions require an- 
serine: Did the Revolutionary fort occupy the site 
of the original Fort Stanwix? Was the old fort re- 
paired; or did Dayton's men construct a completely 
new facility? 

History 23 

The first question is answered by two cartogra- 
phic representations of the Revolutionary period 
fort. One of these is a copy of a map by Francois 
de Fleury entitled, "A Sketch of the siege of FORT 
SCHUYLER Presented to Col. Gansevoort L. 
Fleury." The other is a "Plan of Fort Stanwix" 
that hung in Peter Gansevoort's Albany home for 
many years and now in the New York Public Li- 
brary. 10 Both of these locate the fort on the site of 
the original one. 

The second question can be answered with al- 
most as much precision. The representations of the 
(Revolutionary fort's curtains, bastions, glacis, sally 
ports, and covered way correspond very closely with 
the earlier plans, particularly Crown Maps 99, 100 
and 101. Within less than a fortnight after the 
troops arrived, Nathaniel Hubbell wrote to General 
Schuyler praising the soldiers' performance and pre- 
dicting, "The Fort will be Tenable by 15 Agust 
[sic]." " A letter from Schuyler to Washington of 
August 1 is couched in terms that indicate the old 
fort was being repaired when he wrote, "Fort Stan- 
wix is repairing and is already so far advanced as 
to be defensible against light artillery.' '- On the 
same day. Colonel Dayton wrote to commander. 
"The Fort here which at present is very defensible 
against almost any Number of Small Arms we had 
this day the pleasure to name Fort Schuyler." ,:! 
Two days later, Schuyler wrote to General Horatio 

Yesterday I received information that the enemy in- 
tended to possess themselves of Oswego, and to march 
a body of troops to destroy the settlements on the 
river. I can hardly imagine that they will venture to 
leave Fort Stanwix in the rear, which is already in 
such a condition as to be tenable against small-arms, 
and even light artillery. 14 

By the end of August, scarcely six weeks after 
beginning the work, Colonel Dayton was able to tell 
his commanding general that, "Unless the Enemy 
visit us by the first of October, I imagine they will 
not disturb Fort Schuyler this season." 15 Thus 
within two months, the fort was strong enough to 
persuade the local commander and his superior, 
who had spent most of the summer engaging in 
:alks with the Indians at German Flats, that it could 
withstand any force the enemy was likely to bring 
igainst it that year. This had been accomplished 
n spite of rumors of hostile activity, continued 
irains on Dayton's man-power in providing scouts. 

and the loss of Wynkoop's two companies, who 
were ordered down-river on August 2. 1G This state 
of preparedness could have been achieved only by 
utilizing and repairing the curtains, bastions, ditch, 
and glacis of the original fort. 

While Dayton and Schuyler had hoped to have 
the barracks for 400 men completed by the begin- 
ning of winter, a scarcity of bricks, boards, and 
nails forced deferment of that portion of the work 
until the next year. 17 But the engineer went to Al- 
bany for materials so that work could be resumed 
as early in the season as possible. 18 The cor- 
respondence does not provide details concerning 
other buildings constructed during 1776, but they 
probably included officer' quarters, a storehouse, 
and a powder magazine. Supplies and ordnance had 
been dispatched throughout the summer and fall, 
and facilities for their storage during the winter 
would have had a high priority. 1 '' 

The lack of barracks limited the number of 
men who could be stationed at the fort during the 
winter months to about 200. This worried Colonel 
Dayton, whose men's time would expire at the end 
of the year, and he wrote General Schuyler telling 
him that he did not expect the enemy to move 
against the fort, adding: 

I conclude General Schuyler will order no more than 
about 200 men to garrison this Fort the ensuing 
winter as I suppose that number sufficient and not 
more than 200 can be properly accommodated. On 
this account I fear a Separation of my Regiment 
unless you Sir, should think it fit to order us to a 
more active and important station, and send a part of 
Colonel Elmore's Battalion which I understand is 
equal to mine in point of numbers, to relieve us at 
this Post.'-'" 

General Schuyler complied with Dayton's re- 
quest and on October 9 ordered Col. Samuel 
Elmore's Connecticut troops to leave German Flats 
and occupy Fort Schuyler [Stanwix], which they 
did on the 17th. Because not all the barracks had 
been completed, a part of Elmore's command re- 
turned to German Flats to winter there at nearby 
Burnet's Field.- 1 At the end of December, beef and 
an eight-month supply of flour, along with soap and 
candles, were ordered sent to Elmore's men at Fort 
Stanwix. 22 

One of the last actions taken by the Conti- 
nental Congress in 1 776 was the passage of a resolu- 
tion on Saturday, December 28, providing: 

24 Fort Stanwix 

That Fort Stanwix be strengthened, & other fortifica- 
tions be made at proper places near the Mohawk 
river, ... to be executed this winter, commanding 
officers of artillery, chief engineer, quartermaster 
general, & commissary general, provide & perform 
whatever things in the respective departments are 
necessary, or may contribute to the accomplishment 
thereof. 23 

The winter of 1776-77 was a period of quiet 
on the northern frontier, but it was not one of com- 
placency. Sir Guy Carleton's aborted 1776 in- 
vasion confirmed American fears that the British 
intended carrying the war into the interior; and al- 
though Sir Guy had withdrawn to Canada, there 
was ample evidence that the project was deferred, 
not abandoned. Shortages of every form of ma- 
terial hounded the commanders in the Northern 
Department. Illness and desertion ate into the effec- 
tive man-power. Sectional and personal loyalties 
divided men and units, a condition that was re- 
flected in the shifts of command between Philip 
Schuyler and Horatio Gates. Crown Point and 
Ticonderoga at the northern terminus of the 
Champlain-Hendron line were still American, but 
every problem that plagued the Americans seemed 
to focus and compound there. Fort Stanwix was 
unfinished and while defensible against small arms 
and light artillery, it was vulnerable to a determined 
attack supported by heavier field pieces. 

During the late winter, a new and little-known 
figure entered the story of the fort. A French offi- 
cer. Captain B. De Lamarquisc. who had been 
assigned to the Northern Department as an engi- 
neer, submitted to General Schuyler a plan for re- 
building the fort. The general accepted it and 
ordered the engineer to: 

make the alterations agreeable to the plan you have 
laid before me. ami to guard as much as possible 
against any misfortunes, that might be occasioned by 
an attack before the alterations are compleat. whilst 
the other is going on as possible that the garrison may 
be covered. Perhaps it will be best to begin with one 
bastion and the adjacent curtains and compleat as 
much as possible before another is begun. 2 ' 

I amarquise's plan has not been located, and thus 
an important element of the constaiction history of 
the fort is missing. That it envisaged substantial 
changes as indicated in the general's letter to 
Colonel Elmore in which he wrote: "Captain Mar- 
quizes [?] has in charge from the general to New 

Moddle [model] Fort Schuyler and make some ad- 
ditional fortifications at that place." 2B 

At the end of March, while preparing to leave 
for Philadelphia, General Schuyler ordered Col. 
Peter Gansevoort of the 3d New York Regiment of 
the Continental Line to Fort Stanwix to replace 
Elmore's men of the Connecticut Line. 2 ' 1 

The first detachment of the new garrison 
reached the fort on April 17. On May 3 Colonel 
Gansevoort arrived and took command. A week 
later, Elmore's men, who had spent the winter on 
the frontier, marched out of the fort on their way 
to Albany. The remainder of Gansevoort's regi- 
ment, under the command of Lt. Col. Marinus 
Willctt arrived on May 28. 27 

Gates replaced Schuyler as Commanding Gen- 
eral of the Northern Department. In his papers is 
an undated report from Captain de Lamarquise, 
written prior to Gansevoort's arrival, detailing the 
hitter's work at the fort: 

Capt. De Lamarquise's proceedings at Fort Schuyler 
since his arrival at that post — 

has made halves to the axes, pickaxes & spades 
& other implements 

has made 200 embares on riviere 

has made a guard house at the entry of the Fort 
which before his arrival was behind 

has made sentry-boxes where necessary to keep 

has built a house by order of the general for one 
stefanny who is married to a squaw 24 ft long by 1 2 
ft deep 

has made a small store to put provisions under 
cover finished a house for the savages when they 
come to that post also arranged the Barracks which 
were of no service not being in a state without altera- 
tion to receive 200 men and he will put them in a 
state to receive 500 or at least 400 say. 

The Garrison has not yet permitted him to 
undertake the putting the fort in proper order and 
were there men sufficient, the grass will not be of 
sufficient strength for 15 days, to cut turf he has 
therefore employed the few he has to open a road 
to the westward of the fort where he can get cedar 
and pine near at hand, whereas before they were 
obliged to go three miles to fetch a piece of wood as 
also firewood. 

as soon as Colo Gansevoort arrives he will set 
about the fort and trim it up with turf &c from the 
bottom of the ditch &c. 

He proposes to raise the parapet with cedar (as 
there is enough about a mile from the fort) by the 
end of next month he thinks it will be necessarv to 
order 200 to 300 militia to assist in that work if no 

History 25 

other troops are to be sent but Gansevoort's. 

He proposes next week to make a hospital for 
the sick for the want of which and a surgeon he will 
be obliged to send them down having already done it 
Major Cockran is now very ill. 

When he arrived at Fort Schuyler the 20th of 
April with a company of 20 carpenters a few days 
after he was obliged to discharge 10 of them being 
shoemakers, tailors, & smiths who did not understand 
their business for which they engaged. 28 

Within three weeks, the engineer wrote Gen- 
eral Gates proposing to build a new fort rather than 
'epairing the existing one, saying: 

■ have received orders from General Schuyler to 
epair this fort in the same way form it was last war. 
t is absolutely necessary that I make it entirely new. 
Jarracks, Ramparts, Parapet, Fosse and covered way, 
? raise and Cheveaux de fiese; all is destroyed. If 
here is no more troops to come than Col. Gansevoort's 
Regiment, I can not absolutely repair this Fort so 
oon as I would wish it and necessity requires. I wish 
'ou wouuld send a reinforcement as soon as it is 
>ossible and give orders to the Quarter Master General 
o supply the necessities of the Garrison, by means of 
vhich I can in a little time put the place in condition 
lot to fear the enemy. 29 

Almost simultaneously, Gansevoort assured 
lhe departmental commander that he would co- 
perate with the engineer to the full extent of his 
apabilities, but that he simply did not have the 
ersonnel to do everything that was needed, "as 
he whole fort and barracks is to be new modelled." 
le also informed him that he needed at least ten 
lore batteaus to transport boards. 30 

Before Gates could respond to Gansevoort's 

nd Lamarquise's correspondence. Congress again 

hifted the Northern Department's command to 

chuyler. 31 At this point, the construction history of 

le fort becomes more confusing. The engineer had 

isisted that the old fort was beyond repair and that 

new one would have to be built, and Gansevoort's 

lemorandum to Gates indicated that the works 

ere to be "new modelled." On May 26 Lt. Col. 

larinus Willctt arrived from Fort Constitution with 

i te rest of Gansevoort's regiment, minus a detach- 

lent left at Fort Dayton. 32 Colonel Willett pre- 

| ared an account of his military career thirty years 

a ier the siege of Fort Stanwix, and that narrative 

r akes the following contribution to the story of the 

rt's remodeling: 

Instead of repairing the works after the manner of 
their original construction, which could easily have 
been done, — for though in a state of decay, the 
principal outlines of the old fort were sufficiently 
visible,— the engineer sent out large parties to pro- 
cure logs from the swamp. Having ordered them to be 
drawn near the fort, he began to erect them in the 
covert way and not in the center of the ditch where 
they formerly had been placed. After having with 
much labor procured the logs, it appeared that each 
log was seven feet longer than was necessary; the logs 
being seventeen in length, when the pickets that were 
to be made of them only required ten feet. This 
blunder of the engineer, together with the remissness 
he showed, at so critical a moment, led Colonel 
Willett to suggest to Colonel Gansevoort the propriety 
of discharging him from the office he filled. Colonel 
Gansevoort, however, from the circumstance that the 
engineer had been appointed by the commander-in- 
chief of the Northern Department, General Schuyler, 
to superintend the fortifications, was reluctant to take 
the step. 

The fortifications, consequently, continued to go on 
under the superintendence of the engineer. The bar- 
racks were repaired within the fort, and a large and 
commodious building intended for this purpose was 
erected a little beyond the foot of the glacis. But all of 
those works were of secondary importance; indeed 
the barracks out of the fort at the foot of the glacis, 
could be of no use in care of investment, but rather an 
injury. And so it actually proved: for the enemy set 
fire to this very building at a time, when the wind, 
blowing fresh toward the fort, occasioned considerable 
inconvenience to the garrison. In the meantime little 
was done to strengthen the fort, though there was 
every reason to expect the instant arrival of the 

The anxiety of Colonel Willett, arising from a con- 
viction of the incompetency of the engineer, in con- 
nection with the critical state of the fort, led him 
closely to inspect the progress of the state of the fortifi- 
cation. The engineer had begun to erect a salient angle 
to the gate, with two embrasures in it. He was also 
engaged in erecting pickets along the covert way. The 
pickets were placed about three feet from the parapet 
of the glacis. Two of them were framed together 
with cross-pieces, and formed a kind of porthole which 
were intended to be placed opposite the embrasures. 
But it soon appeared from the manner in which the 
pickets were arranged that the portholes formed of 
the pickets with crosspieces would come opposite 
the neck of the embrasures. By this means the salient 
angle would be rendered wholly useless Colonel 
Willett at an early stage of the work, noticed the 
error, but thought it best to let the engineer take his 
own course until the line of pickets should be carried 

26 Fort Stanwix 

to that part of the salient angle where they would be 
opposite to the embrasures. When the engineer reached 
this part of his work, his ignorance would be without 
the least covering; and yet he never discovered his 
error until the pickets were erected opposite the neck 
of the embrasures. Then for the first time he saw that 
all his labor in erecting the salient angle had been in 
vain; and that it could not be used without first 
knocking away the neck of the embrasures. The case 
being stated to Colonel Ganscvoort, he directed Colonel 
Willett to arrest the engineer, which was accordingly 
done. He was permitted to repair to headquarters; a 
letter at the same time being sent to General Schuyler 
assigning the reasons of the arrest. 

It was not until some time in the month [July] that 
this step was taken. Information had already been 
received that the enemy were advancing toward the 
garrison.' 13 

Because the account was written so many years 
after the events took place and was rewritten by his 
son William, the colonel's story must be used cau- 
tiously and in conjunction with other, more con- 
temporaneous sources. Returning to those sources, 
one can trace a part of the course of rebuilding of 
the fort. On June 15, in reply to a query of Schuy- 
ler's concerning the progress of the work, Gansc- 
voort wrote that, in spite of the fact every available 
man was on fatigue details, progress was very slow 
and that: 

there arc about 2,000 Pickquettes lying around the 
fort which we have Drawn out of the swamp through 
which we have been obliged to make Roads for that 
purpose and will soon he able to compleat that part 
of the business — nothing of any importance is yet done 
towards the strengthening of the fortification which 
at present has little more than the name of a fortifica- 
tion. The engineer at this place has just laid the 
foundation of a salient angle before the gate and the 
carpenters arc employed in framing a Barracks to be 
raised just before the glacis opposite the south Bastion 
the Barracks at present being bad and the whole 
works insufficient to contain the few men we have 
here, the whole of the works which appear to me to 
be necessarv and which (apt. Marquisic tells me are 
to be done at this place undoubtedly require more 
strength than we have at present. I. therefore, humbly 
request that part of my Regiment which is at present 
stationed at Fori Dayton may be relieved and ordered 
to this place. 

He reported that the engineer appeared to be 
diligent, thai many of the supplies went to "victual- 
ing" the Indians, that a number of his men were ill. 

and that he had to send as far as Conajohary for 
boards and to Little Falls for lime. 34 

Suddenly, on July 10, General Schuyler wrote 
to Ganscvoort directing him to "send Capt. Mar- 
quisie down & let Ivlajor Hubbcl superintend the 
works." :!: ' Nothing in the contemporary corre- 
spondence reveals the reasons for this apparently 
abrupt action. Schuyler was not a man who gave 
his confidence lightly and he was equally slow to 
withdraw it. The reasons for ordering the French- 
man's replacement must have been weighty. Look- 
ing at it from the distance of nearly two centuries, 
some of Lamarquise's acts, and decisions, and 
statements certainly are hard to understand and de- 
fend. For one thing, he intruded himself into the 
field of Indian relations, as witness this report to 
General Gates: 

I have the honor to write you this to inform you of the 
arrangements which I have made with the savages of 
the Six Nations, that after having held council with 
them of which Mr. Stephnes was the interpreter, they 
promised me neutrality, and that they will not medle 
any more with the affairs of the King of England, 
and they are satisfied that the King of France was a 
friend of the Americans for which they will rest at 

The 26th of April last the savages of the Six Nations 
sent to the Fort for me, in consequence of which I 
was sent with them in Council with the savages that 
was arrived from Canada. These savages from Canada 
promised me also neutrality in the presence of Mr. 
Dean, the Interpreter, and told me that they will 
refuse General Carleton all sorts of propositions, and 
that they will not medle more with anything, and they 
gave the following news: 

At a place called I.a Gallctte (Oswaygatia I believe) 
fOswcgol where they are constructing a vessel of 28 
pieces of cannon which ought to be finished. There 
is in the Fort 50 or 60 men, and 6 pieces of artillery 
mounted. At Niagara there is about 200 men which 
Mr. Johnson's son [Sir John Johnson] left when he 
was last fall at New York. At St. John's last winter 
they had there and at the Isle auxNois 1.000 men. and 
there they are constructing 12 batteaus of one mast. 
and several more large batteaus. When Messrs. 
Nermonet and the other gentlemen arrived. I had 
arrargned [arranged] all this on my good will and 
money, about a fortnight: being glad to have the 
occasion to oblige the country and render myslf useful 
to the Continent. 

I hope General this will give you pleasure, and that 
you will have some regard to my good intention: it has 
cost in presents to make them drink about one 

History 27 

hundred dollars which I expended with a good heart. 

... I shall always be ready to execute your orders, 
and that will give much pleasure to the savages. 30 

In his undated memorandum describing the 
situation prior to May 5, the date of Gansevoort's 
arrival, he wrote concerning the conference with 
the Indians: 

The 26 April 2 savages from the Sault St. Louis near 
Montreal arrived among the 6 Nations. As soon as 
they heard there was a French officer at the fort they 
sent for him to hold a council which lasted from 9 in 
the morning to 6 in the evening but not being ac- 
customed to such councils he neglected to lay in a 
good breakfast. Therefore declares when he broke up 
had great occasion for a good dinner. In the counsel 
the savages from Canada agreed with the Six Nations 
and him not to take part with the English as they 
call our enemies but remain neutral. 
When he went out to meet them they received him 
with the honors of war a salute of 3 cannons and 
each savage fired his fusil, which I answered with 3 
discharges from the detachment I had with me. When 
I left them the same ceremony happened. They made 
him a present, but unfortunately not worth much. He 
did all he could to engage the Canadian Indians to 
come down but could not succeed . . . P.S. — If you 
send Capt. Florimant here I believe it will be of 
service first to assist in the works, secondly the right 
of another French officer will confirm to the savages 
what I have already told them — and also you may be 
assured he is an honest man.-' 7 

Lamarquise's reports pose some problems. First, 

Tolonel Elmore, the fort's commanding officer and 

he official responsible for Indian affairs in that 

/icinity, and his successor, Colonel Gansevoort, 

lever referred to the council, nor did General 

Schuyler, departmental commander and Indian 

:ommissioner. This is strange, if so important a 

•onference as the engineer describes convened. 

Secondly, the only members of the Six Nations 

vhose presence in any numbers is reported at or 

lear the fort and with whom the Americans ap- 

mrently had friendly contacts were the Oneidas. 

Thirdly, the conduct of the Six Nations, excepting 

; he Oneidas, was exactly the opposite of what La- 

I narquise reported they had pledged. If the coun- 

il took place, it probably included not representa- 

ives of the Confederacy, but only a few of the 

acal bands; and the Indians succeeded in hood- 

' /inking the Frenchman, playing upon his sense of 

importance. There are no documents authorizing 
the engineer to treat with the Indians and none that 
have been studied support his story; although a 
probable result was Schuyler's order to Gansevoort 
forbidding persons not employed by the Indian De- 
partment to make speeches to the Indians. :tK 

Lamarquise's professional performance is not 
always easy to defend. As has been noted, he was 
commissioned to restore the fort "in the same way 
it was last war." Contending that it was beyond 
repair, he advised building a completely new one 
and apparently proceeded to act as though that was 
what he was doing. This would have been a very 
ambitious undertaking under the best of conditions, 
and one that would have demanded a severely im- 
posed husbanding of men, time and equipment. 
However, he built a house for Stephen Degran, a 
local French squaw-man, a building to shelter the 
Indians who visited the fort, and erected a large new 
barracks outside the fort that had to be destroyed 
during the siege to prevent its screening the enemy's 
approach. His utilization of building materials was 
not what would have been expected of an engineer 
working against time in a wilderness environment. 
Instead of erecting log barracks, he used boards that 
had to be shipped by batteaux from Conajohary, a 
distance of almost fifty miles. In fact, if he intended 
building a new fort to replace the old one he failed. 
Nothing in the contemporary documents indicates 
that he razed the old ramparts; and as shall be 
noted, the evidence indicates that the old fort was 
still standing in August. Perhaps he intended to 
build a new one and that time, the approaching 
enemy, and his recall precluded his accomplishing 
his objective. The Gansevoort-Schuyler corres- 
pondence does not tell why he was replaced — per- 
haps Colonel Willett's account of Lamarquise's 
incompetence provides the answer. 

The Americans continued working to 
strengthen their position under Hubbell's super- 
vision. As the summer advanced, enemy activity 
in the vicinity increased. On June 25 a party of 
Indians attacked Captain Gregg and Corporal Madi- 
son while hunting. The corporal was killed and the 
captain almost fatally wounded. 39 On July 3 En- 
sign lohn Spoor and a party of seven men cutting 
sod at the ruins of old Fort Newport were attacked. 
One soldier was killed and scalped, one wounded 
and scalped, and the officer and four men were cap- 
tured. 40 Not unnaturally, the fort's commander sus- 

28 Fort Stanwix 

pectcd the neighboring Oneidas of having a share in 
these events; and, according to William L. Stone, 
Sr., the Indians denied any complicity, protesting 
their good-will and friendship, to which the Colonel 

Brother Warriors of the Six Nations: I thank you for 
your good talk. 

Brothers: You tell us you are sorry for the cruel usage 
of Captain Gregg, and the murder of one of our 
warriors; that you would have immediately pursued 
the murderers, had not General Schuyler, General 
Gates, and the French general desired you not to take 
any part in this war; and that you have obeyed their 
orders, and arc resolved to do so. I commend your 
good resolution. 

Brothers: You say you have sent a runner to the Six 
Nations to inform them of what has happened, and 
that you expect some of the chiefs will look into the 
affair, and try to find the murderers. You have done 
well. I shall be glad to smoke a pipe with your chiefs, 
and hope they will do as they speak. 

Brothers: I hope the mischief has been done, not by 
any of our good neighbors of the Oneida nation but 
by the Tories, who are enemies to you as well as to 
us, and who are ready to murder yourselves, your 
wives, and children if you will not be as wicked as 

Brothers: When your chiefs shall convince me that 
Indians of the six Nations have had no hand in this 
wicked thing, and shall use means to find out the 
murderers and bring them to justice, you may be 
assured that we will strengthen the chain of friendship, 
and embrace you as good brothers. I will not suffer 
any of our warriors to hurt you. 11 

The details of the work done after Lamar- 
cpiisc's departure cannot be traced in the corres- 
pondence that has survived. Thus a picture of 
what the fort looked like when Brigadier Barry 
St. Lcger's men laid siege to it in August must be 
inferred from the data that we have reviewed and 
from two cartographic sources. 

Captain Lamarquise had reported to General 
Gates that the original fort was beyond repair and 
that a new one would have to be built, and Colonel 
Gansevoort apparently acquiesced in this. There- 
fore, one question that needs answering is whether 
a new fort was indeed constructed. The engineer's 
and Gansevoort's letters to Schuyler and Willett's 
Narrative give the impression thai was the objective 
of the work undertaken during the summer of 1776; 

but the same sources raise doubts that much prog- 
ress was made toward that goal. 

The reports and letters, and especially Wil- 
lett's account, clearly indicate that the original ditch 
and glacis were retained. This meant that before a 
new fort could be constructed the old one would 
have to be razed, but there is no documentary evi- 
dence that this was done. In fact, the ramparts re- 
ceived scant attention. The engineer reported to 
Gates before May 5 that he intended to raise the 
parapet with cedar. He mentioned the laying of 
turf on the ramparts' exterior slopes, and beginning 
work on a "salient angle" in front of the main gate. 
Colonel Willett recalled that "little was done to 
strengthen the fort," and Colonel Gansevoort re- 
ported on June 15 that "nothing of any importance 
is yet done towards strengthening the fortification 

The cartographic evidence argues strongly 
against the construction of a new fort. The most 
nearly contemporary plan or map was the one made 
by the French officer. Francois de Fleury. entitled. 
"A Sketch of the siege of FORT SCHUYLER 
Presented to Col. Gansevoort by L. Fleury." The 
original Map is lost, but two copies exist. One by 
G. H. Bowen is preserved in the Cornell University 
Library's Sparks Collection. Another was prepared 
by William Campbell for William L. Stone's Life 
of Brant. A later sketch of the fort was drawn by 
an unknown artist and presented to Colonel Ganse- 
voort, in whose Albany home it hung for many 
years. It is now owned by the New York Public 
Library.'- This presents a view of the fort and its 
environs after the siege, possibly in 1778. These 
representations of the Revolutionary fort's curtains, 
bastions, glacis, and gates correspond closely with 
the earlier plans, especially numbers CXXI 99. 100. 
and 101 of the British Museum's Crown Mar 

From the correspondence of 1777 and the 
Fleury map. a general description of the historic 
fort as it existed at the time o\~ the siege may hi 
projected. The ditch and glacis conformed to the 
pre-Revolutionary design, i.e.. a ditch that wai 
about 40 feet wide and a glacis approximately 9( 
feet wide. However, Willett said that instead o 
being in the center of the ditch, the pickets wen 
placed on the covered way, the space between th 
outside berm of the ditch and the glacis parapel 
The pickets, according to Willett. were ten feet long 

History 29 

of which approximately six or seven feet stood 
above ground. An unfinished salient angle stood 
opposite the main gate, which was located in the 
center of the south curtain. A drawbridge gave 
access to the gate. In the center of the east curtain 
was another gate, or sally-port, that gave access 
to a spring-fed stream. A small sailent covered this 
entrance after 1764, and an unidentifiable symbol 
indicates that some type of work did so in 1777. 
A fraise of horizontal inclined pickets was near the 
top of the external slope of the ramparts. All re- 
ports agreed that a very limited amount of work 
was done on the ramparts, except for placing sod 
on the exterior slope and raising the parapet with 
cedar. The map's representation of the ramparts 
shows a heavy line for all sections except the south 
curtain and southeast bastion. This may indicate 
that the latter were in a less advanced state of re- 
pair. The flag staff was on the southwest bastion, 
where three cannon were mounted. Four guns were 
on the northwest bastion, three on the northeast, 
and four on the southeast. The bombproof was in 
the southeast bastion. The sources do not indicate 
whether the parapet was en barbette or had em- 
brasures, although the post-siege plan shows em- 
brasures. There is a tradition that because of the 
topography, the eastern curtain was shorter than 
the others; and this seems logical because a small 
stream flowed within a few yards of the fort on 
that side, and its west bank would appear to have 
required a weaker and shorter curtain. This is 
supported by St. Leger's description of the fort: 
I found it a respectable Fortress strongly garrisoned 
with 700 men and demanding a train of Artillery we 
were not masters of for its speedy subjection. — Its 
form is a kind of Trapezium or four sided figure with 
four Bastions freized and picketted, without them is a 
good ditch with pickets nipping out a considerable 
way at the salient angles of the Bastions three nines 
F our sixes two threes with a considerable number of 
wall pieces were all the Artillery the Enemy made use 
:>f during the Siege. 4 '' 

The structures inside the fort are not easily 
dentified. The key to the map uses letters to ac- 
:omplish this, but they are not always distinct. In 
>ne instance, the guard house, no reference is found 
n the key. This building stood to the left of the 
nain gate as one entered the fort. Opposite it was 
he store-house. The barracks stood east and west 
)f the parade, and the commandant's quarters and 
leadquarters stood north of it. The key also lists a 

"Laboratory," whose location may have been iden- 
tical with the store-house or commissary. Because 
the conclusions that may be developed from the 
documentary and cartographic sources lack certi- 
tude, it is hoped that archeological study will en- 
large knowledge of the physical features and 
correct any errors of interpretation. 44 

After the siege, repair and construction con- 
tinued, because the threat to the frontier remained 
critical. The post-siege map shows a hospital, car- 
penter shop, blacksmith shop, "Indian House," and 
stable outside the fort's walls and a "Necessary 
House" built over the creek and connected to the 
southeast bastion by a bridge in the position that a 
similar facility occupied in 1759, as depicted on 
Crown Map CXXI, 99. 




While the men of Colonel Gansevoort's com- 
mand were repairing Fort Stanwix, the British gov- 
ernment and two of its generals were preparing 
plans for a campaign that was to test the fort and 
its defenders. What they planned was an invasion 
of the northern frontier that would, among other ac- 
complishments, redeem the aborted one of 1776. 
To understand that plan and what it did and did not 
contain, we need to go back to November of that 
year when William Howe proposed a plan for 1777 
providing that 2,000 men would hold Rhode Island 
while 10,000 would move from there against New 
England and 5,000 would hold New York City and 
8,000 would "cover New Jersey" while 1 0,000 would 
advance up the Hudson to cooperate with a renewed 
invasion from Canada. The 8,000 men covering New 
Jersey would also threaten Philadelphia, which Sir 
William intended to attack after being reinforced. 
If the American Capital fell and troops became 
available, he planned to attack Virginia during the 
autumn and South Carolina and Georgia in the win- 
ter. This plan was predicated upon his having avail- 
able a total of 35,000 men, requiring a reinforcement 
of 15,000.' 

On December 20, before a response to his 
initial plan could be received from London, the 
general wrote to Lord George Germain, the Sec- 
retary of State for Colonics and Lord Commissioner 
of Trade and Plantations, outlining a modification 
of his plan. This proposed opening the campaign 
with an offensive against Pennsylvania, where he 
believed the sentiments of the people were favor- 
able to the British, and deferring "the offensive 
Plan towards Boston until the Reinforcement 
arrives, that there might be a Corps to act defen- 
sively on the lower part of Hudson's River to cover 
Jersey and to facilitate in some degree the approach 

of the Canada Army." He changed the proposed 
distribution of troops to 2,000 for Rhode Island. 
4,000 in the New York City area, 3,000 to act on 
the lower Hudson, and 10,000 to operate in Penn- 
sylvania, a total of 19,000.- 

At the close of the northern campaign of 
1776, one of Gen. Sir Guy Carleton's subordinates, 
Maj. Gen. John Burgoyne, like other officers who 
were members of Parliment, returned to England 
for the winter sessions and to advance personal pro- 
fessional interests. He arrived at an important 
point in the development of plans for the coming 
year. Between the Colonial Minister and Sir Guy 
there was an old and cherished enmity. The gen- 
eral's failure to prosecute the invasion of the 
northern frontier was grist in Lord George's mill, 
and even George III agreed that the command of 
the next campaign should be given to a more ag- 
gressive general. 3 

There were two candidates for the honor: 
Henry Clinton and Burgoyne. Clinton did not seek! 
the assignment, at least in part because he expected 
Howe to give it to him when the invading force 
established contact with New York. 4 Burgoyne 
was the more obvious choice, in spite of his associ- 
ation with the failed invasion. In fact, he turnec 
that association to an advantage. Not only couk 
he pose as being familiar with the American scene 
but he also assiduously cultivated the impressiot 
that he had opposed the abandonment of Crowr 
Point; and a precis in the American Department' 
papers shows that the account he gave of the cam 
paign of the previous summer did not always plac 
Carleton in the most favorable light. He ha< 
brought a letter from his commander recommend 
ing him to the secretary as a source of informatio l 
and advice, and he took advantage of this, especiall 

in detailed observations on Sir Guy's requirements 
for the next campaign. 5 He used a technique of 
moderate criticism and suggestive contrast to con- 
vey an impression of Carleton's inadequacy. 

On New Year's Day Burgoyne wrote to Lord 
Germain telling him that he was leaving London 
for Bath: 

My physician has pressed me to go to Bath for a short 
time, and I find it requisite to my health and spirits 
to follow his Advice. But I think it a previous duty to 
assure your Lordship that should my attendance in 
town become necessary, relative to information upon 
the affairs in Canada, I shall be ready to obey your 
summons upon one day's notice. 

Your Lordship being out of town, I submitted the 
above intentions a few days ago personally to his 
Majesty in his closet, and I added, "that as the 
arrangements for the next campaign might possibly 
come under his royal contemplation before my return, 
I humbly laid myself at his Majesty's feet for such 
active employment as he might think me worthy of. 

This was the substance of my audience of my part, I 
undertook it, and I now report it, to you Lordship, in 
the hope of your patronage in the pursuit, a hope My 
Lord, founded not only upon a just sense of the 
honour your Lordship's friendship must reflect upon 
me but also upon a feeling that I deserve it, inasmuch 
as a solid respect and sincere personal attachment can 
constitute such a claim. (i 

Burgoyne was clearly soliciting the command of 
the army that would invade the Colonies' northern 

As late as February 24, 1777, the day after 
;he receipt of Howe's December 20 modification 
3f plans for 1777, the King wrote to the Prime 
Minister, Lord North, that Germain was going to 
propose that the northern command be given to 
Sir Henry Clinton and that Burgoyne be sent to 
Mew York. However, on the following day, the 
Tabinet agreed to send Burgoyne back to Canada. 7 
jermain had made certain that Carleton would not 
conduct the campaign, and he flattered himself 
hat, although he had failed in an attempt to effect 
he Governor-General's recall, the invasion would 
)e directed by a general who possessed the quali- 
ies the Secretary found so lacking in Sir Guy. 

Leaving Carleton in command in Canada and 
ppointing Burgoyne to command the expedition 
reated a strange and potentially dangerous situa- 
ion of dual command with "Burgoyne dependent 
>n Carleton for his base and transport, yet march- 

ing independently to place himself under the orders 
of another General [Howe], while Carleton dis- 
owned all responsibility for events beyond the 
frontier of Canada." 8 

General Burgoyne had not been idle while his 
professional future was being settled: he was busy 
preparing his own plan. On February 28 he sent 
to Germain his "Thoughts for Conducting the War 
from the Side of Canada." 9 

In examining Burgoyne's plan, two matters are 
pertinent to this study: the basic purpose or objec- 
tive of the invasion and how it involved the Mo- 
hawk Valley. A great deal of ink has been 
expended in identifying the first. The isolation of 
New England through a junction of three forces, 
Burgoyne's from Canada, Sir William Howe's from 
New York, and Brigadier Barry St. Leger's from 
Oswego at Albany was a time-honored, simplistic 
definition. Recent scholarship has made the story 
more complex and in so doing has redefined the 
strategic role that the campaign was intended to 
play. The heart of the solution of the problem lies 
in Burgoyne's plan. 

That plan was, in the first place, a discussion 
of alternatives. After retaking the first British ob- 
jectives, Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga, "The 
next measure must depend upon those taken by the 
enemy, and upon the general plan concerted at 
home." I0 If the Government's plan provided that 
Sir William Howe's entire army would act on the 
Hudson and if "the only object of the Canada army 
is to effect a junction with that force," Burgoyne 
recommended that the main invading column go to 
Albany by way of Lake George. If, as he believed 
probable, the Americans should "be in force on the 
lake," light infantry and Indians should act around 
the lake to "oblige them to quit it without waiting 
for naval operations." If that failed to clear the 
lake, the army should attempt to move southward 
by Lake Camplain's South Bay and Skenesborough 
[Whitehall, N. Y.]. Burgoyne expected this alter- 
native to be very difficult and at best requiring a 
significant number of vehicles for his artillery and 
supplies. The vehicles had to come from Canada. 
If, at the same time, the Americans should continue 
to occupy Lake George, the British would have to 
leave a chain of posts as they moved southward to 
secure their communications. 

While Burgoyne expected that the British 
would be able to rid Lake George of the Ameri- 


32 Fort Stanwix 

cans, he advocated that the army "at the outset 
should be provided with carriages, implements, and 
artificers for conveying armed vessels from Ticon- 
deroga to the lake." 

His second alternative was based upon co- 
operation with the British force posted in Rhode 
Island by getting control of the Connecticut River. 
Such an expedition would be faced with serious 
transport, communications, and security problems, 
but "Should the junction between Canada and 
Rhode Island armies be effected upon the Con- 
necticut, it would not be too sanguine an expecta- 
tion that all the New England provinces will be 
reduced by their operations." 

The third alternative that Burgoyne suggested 
was that if the force available for service were too 
small to undertake an over-land expedition with a 
reasonable promise of success, it might be wise to 
send the army by sea to join Sir William Howe. 

If the first alternative, the one Burgoyne pre- 
ferred, were chosen, he defined the expedition's 
mission in these works: "These ideas are formed 
upon the supposition, that the sole purpose of the 
Canada army is to effect a junction with General 
Howe, or after cooperating so far as to get pos- 
session of Albany and open the communication to 
New York, to remain upon Hudson's River, and 
thereby enable that General to act with his whole 
force to the Southward." If the second alternative, 
providing for gaining control of the Connecticut 
River and cooperation with the troops in Rhode 
Island, were selected, the reduction of New Eng- 
land, which Britain saw as the heart of the rebellion, 
would certainly facilitate Howe's movements in 
other quarters. The third alternative, involving the 
transfer of the northern army by sea, would obvi- 
ously be exclusively directed toward Howe's re- 
inforcement. Nothing in Burgoyne's plan made 
holding the Camplain-Hudson line and isolating 
New England his mission, except in so far as "co- 
operating so far as to get possession of Albany and 
open the communication to New York, to remain 
upon Hudson's River, and thereby enable that Gen- 
eral [Howe | to act with his whole force to the 
Southward'* would contribute to attaining that end. 

Burgoyne's proposals received careful atten- 
tion; and when the King responded to them, he and 
his ministers had not only the general's comments 
but also Howe's letter of November 30 containing 
his first plan, the one of December 20 altering that 

plan by shifting the offensive from New England 
to Philadelphia, one dated December 30 and that 
reported the affair at Trenton, and one dated Janu- 
ary 20. When Sir William wrote the last, his 
fragile optimism had evaporated in the face of the 
battles of Trenton and Princeton and the amazing 
recuperative power displayed by Washington's 
army, and he wrote: "I 'do not now see a prospect 
of terminating ye War but by a general Action, and 
I am aware of the difficulties in our way to obtain 
it. as ye Enemy move with so much more celerity 
than we possibly can with our foreign troops who 
are too much attach'd to their baggage, which they 
have in amazing quantities in ye field." n 

With all these documents before them, the 
King's advisors, members of the Cabinet, and 
George III made the choice from among Burgoyne's 
proposals. The King's decision is contained in a 
document entitled "Remarks on 'The Conduct of 
the War from Canada'," containing the royal ob- 
jections to the second and third alternatives, ending 
with this paragraph: 

The idea of carrying the army by sea to Sir William 
Howe would certainly require the leaving a much 
larger part of it in Canada, as in that case the rebel 
army would divide that province from the immense 
one under Sir W. Howe. / greatly dislike the idea. 12 

The decision was made by the ministry and 
Crown. The primary purpose of the invasion 
would be to bring a two-column army from Canada 
to Albany, where it would be at Gen. Sir William 
Howe's command to utilize in prosecuting the war. 
If in accomplishing this other benefits should 
accrue, such as the isolation of New England, de- 
struction of the army of the Northern Department. 
and reconquest of a geographic area, that would be 
so much the better. Perhaps in the face of such a 
disaster, the rebellion would collapse. 

The second matter, and the one more directh 
associated with Fort Stanwix. concerns the part the 
Mohawk Valley was destined to play in Bur 
goyne's strategy. He covered that subject in hi: 
"Thoughts" with these paragraphs: 

To avoid breaking in upon other matter. I omitted it 
the beginning of these papers to state the idea of ar 
expedition at the outset of the campaign by the Laid 
Ontario and Oswego to the Mohawk River, which as ; 
diversion to facilitate every proposed operation, woull 
be highly desirable, provided the army should b 
reinforced sufficiently to afford it. 

History 33 

It may at first appear, from a view of the present 
strength of the army, that it may bear the sort of 
detachment proposed by myself last year for this 
purpose; but it is to be considered that at that time 
the utmost object of the campaign from the advanced 
season and unavoidable delay of preparation for the 
lakes, being the reduction of Crown Point and 
Ticonderoga, unless the success of my expedition had 
opened the road to Albany, no greater numbers were 
necessary than for those first operations. The case in 
the present year differs; because the season of the year 
affording a prospect of very extensive operation, and 
consequently the establishment of many posts, patroles, 
etc., will become necessary. The army ought to be in 
a state of numbers to bear those drains, and still 
remain sufficient to attack anything that probably can 
be opposed to it. 

Nor, to argue from probability, is so much force 
necessary for this diversion this year, as was required 
for the last; because we then knew that General 
Schuyler with a thousand men, was fortified upon the 
Mohawk. When the different situations of things are 
considered, viz, the progress of General Howe, the 
early invasion from Canada, the threatening of the 
Connecticutt from Rhode Island, etc., it is not to be 
imagined that any detachment of such force as that 
of Schuyler can be supplied by the enemy for the 
Mohawk. I would not therefore propose it of more 
(and I have great diffidence whether so much can be 
prudently afforded) than Sir John Johnson's corps, 
and a hundred British from the second brigade, and a 
hundred more from the 8th regiment, with four 
pieces of the lightest artillery, and a body of savages; 
Sir John Johnson to be with a detachment in person, 
and an able field officer to command it. I should wish 
Lieutenant-Colonel St. Leger for that employment. 

I particularize the second brigade, because the first is 
proposed to be deminished by the 31st regiment re- 
maining in Canada, and the rest of the regiment 
drafted for the expedition being made also part of the 
Canada force, the two brigades will be exactly 
squared. 13 

Burgoyne's discussion is a strange combination 
of proposing a diversion by way of the Mohawk 
and a questioning of its wisdom. But, again, it is 
wise to remember that he was writing about alter- 
natives. For a purely military perspective, there 
was really not too much to commend the Mohawk 
expedition. True, it would be diversionary, but did 
it promise to be effective enough to justify the com- 
mitment of the white troops that would be required, 
especially when so few could be spared? The Gov- 
ernment's decision to operate in western New York 

was based upon political rather than military con- 
siderations operating in the valley and farther west. 

The region was the gateway to the great west- 
ern country whose importance had long been ap- 
preciated at Whitehall. Memories of Pontiac's 
conspiracy were fresh, and prudence dictated that 
the western tribes become accustomed to support- 
ing British interests in the interior. 

More immediately important was the retention 
of the loyalty of the Six Nations. Two of the tribes 
were refusing to support their old allies, the British; 
and one, the Oneidas, was actively assisting the 
Colonies. The presence of victorious royal troops 
would insure the steadfastness of the loyal and 
recall the allegiance of the alienated. 

The local Loyalists were another factor — not 
only the active ones like the Johnsons and their 
associates, but also the inactive and wavering. The 
former had suffered self-exile for their principles, 
had raised a body of "provincials" in the British 
service, and had persuaded the authorities at home 
that the majority of the valley's people would rise 
for the Crown whenever a British army should 

On the basis of this combination of military 
and political interests, the ministry decided to make 
a commitment in the Mohawk-Ontario Country 
and Lt. Col. Barry St. Leger of the 34th Regiment 
of Foot was given its command with the local rank 
of brigadier. 

General St. Leger was given 100 men from 
each of two regiments stationed in Canada, the 34th 
and the 8th; Sir John Johnson's Regiment (the 
Greens); a company of rangers under Walter But- 
ler; and 342 Hanau Chasseurs (light infantry or 
Jagers). To these were to be added "a sufficient 
number of Canadians and Indians." The expedition 
also had 40 artillerymen to serve the six-pounders, 
two three-pounders, and four 4.4-inch "Coehorn" 
mortars. 14 Of the Hanau troops, only one company 
joined the expedition. Exact figures of St. Leger's 
strength cannot be established, but an estimated 
700-800 white troops and, according to tradition, 
800 to 1,000 Indians comprised his force. 15 

The British regulars and militia left Lachine 
near Montreal on or about June 23. When he left 
Montreal, St. Leger had received intelligence about 
Fort Stanwix to the effect that "there were 60 Men 
in a picketed place." lfi Upon this information, the 
commander formulated his plan to make a dash 

34 Fort Stanvvix 

through the wilderness and storm what he believed 
to be a very weak frontier post, which was con- 
sistent with his ordnance capability. Col. Daniel 
Claus was skeptical about the accuracy of this in- 
telligence and he sent out a reconnaissance party 
that reported a very different situation: 

Between 60 & 70 Leagues from Montreal by recon- 
noitering party returned and met me with 5 prisoners: 
(one a Lieut) and 4 scalps having defeated a working 
party of 16 rebels, as they were cutting Sodd, 17 
towards repairing and finishing the old Fort which is 
a regular Square, and garrisoned by upwards of 600 
Men, the Repairs far advanced, and the Rebels ex- 
pecting us, and were acquainted with our Strength 
and Rout [e]. I immediately forwarded the Prisoners 
to the Brigr. [Brigadier] who was about 15 Leagues 
in our Rear. On his Arrival within a few Leagues of 
Buck Island he sent for me, and talking over the 
Intelligence the Rebel Prisrs. gave, he owned that if 
they intended to defend themselves in that Fort, our 
Artillery were not sufficient to take it, however he 
said he was determined to get the Truth of these 
Fellows. I told him that [?] examined them separately 
they agreed in their Story; and here the Brigr. had 
still an Opportunity & time of sending for a better 
Train of Artillery, and wait for the junction of the 
Chasseurs which must have secured us Success as 
every one will allow, however he was still full of his 
Alert, making little of the Prisrs Intelligence. 18 

Although St. Leger refused to wait for more 
Germans and send back for additional artillery, 
he agreed to go to Oswego, which he had intended 
to by-pass, and join the Indians who were assem- 
bled there. 

Since July 8, Claus had been superintendent 
of the expedition's Indians, and he wrote concern- 
ing the junction at with the Idians: 

The Brigr. set out from ye Island [Buck island] upon 
his Alert the 19th July. I having been ordered to 
proceed to Oswego with Sr. John Johnson's Regt. and 
a Compy of Chasseurs lately arrived, [?] to con- 
vene & prepare the Indians to join the Brigr. at Fort 
Stanwix, on my Arrival at Oswego 23 July I found 
Josefph] Brant there, who acquainted me that his 
party consi [sting] of abt. 300 Indns would be in that 
day, and having been more than 2 months upon 
Service, were destitute of Necessaries Ammunition & 
some Arms, Joseph at the same time complaining of 
having been very scantily supplied by Colo. Butler with 
Ammunition when at Niagara in the Spring . . . 

The 24 of July I received an F.xpress from Brigr. St. 
I eger at Salmon Creek to repair thither with what 
Arms & Vermilion I had. and that he wished I would 

come prepared for a March thro' the Woods, as to 
Arms & Vermilion I had none, but prepared myself 
to go upon the March and was ready to set off when 
Joseph came into my Tent and told me that as no 
person was on the Spot to take care of the Number of 
Indians with him, he apprehended in case I should 
leave them they would become disgusted & disperse, 
which might prevent the rest of the 6 Nations to 
assemble, and be hurtful to the Expedition, and begd 
I would first represent those Circumstances to the 
Brigr. by Letter. Br. St. Leger mentioned indeed my 
going was chiefly intended to quiet the Indns. with him 
who were very drunk & riotous, and Captn. Tice who 
was the Messenger informed me, that the Brigr. 
ordered the Indians a Quart of Rum apiece which 
made them all beastly drunk and in which Case it 
is not in the power of Man to quiet them; Accordingly 
I mentioned to the Brigr. by Letter the Consequences 
that might affect his Majestys Indn Interest in case I 
was to leave so large a Number of Indns. that [were] 
come already, & still expected. Upon which Represen- 
tation and finding the Indians disapproved of the Plan 
and w [ere] unwilling to proceed, the Brigr. came away 
from Salm [on] Creek, and arrived the next day at 
Oswego with the Compy of 8th & 34 Regt. and abt 
250 Indians. 

Having equiped Josephs party with what Necessaries 
and Ammunition I had, I appointed the rest of the 6 
Nations to Assemble at the 3 Rivers a convenient 
place of Rendezvous & in the way to Fort Stanwix, 
and desired Col. Butler [to] follow me with the 
Indians he brought with him from Niagara and equip 
them all at 3 Rivers. 19 

Obtaining and holding the cooperation of the 
Indians was no easy matter. They were somewhat 
less than unanimous in their desire to commit them- 
selves to the active support of British interest. 
There were too many memories of white men's 
breaking their promises and of using the Indian in 
advancing their own self-interest. The white man 
who had title to their affection and loyalty. Sir 
William Johnson, was dead, and there was no one 
who could really assume his mantle. Relations be- 
tween Daniel Claus and John Butler were not har- 
monious.-" Joseph Brant, who was uniquely able 
to relate to both races, endeavored to secure fair 
treatment for his fellows, at the same time binding 
l hem to the British cause. Neither Sir John, who 
should have inherited some of his father's great skill 
in dealing with the red men, nor St. Leger, whose 
training and background ill fitted him to deal with 
an aboriginal people, could through their personal 
leadership command the Indians' loyalty, much less 

History 35 

their obedience. There was never a time when St. 
Leger could depend upon his Indian allies' un- 
reserved cooperation — they were always an un- 
known quantity in the tactical equation. 

While St. Leger's composite force assembled 
and launched its invasion of the northwestern fron- 
tier, events took place in the Mohawk Valley that 
affected its outcome. One of these was a confron- 
tation between Joseph Brant and Brig. Gen. 
Nicholas Herkimer, leader of the pro-American 
Germans and commanding general of the Tyron 
County militia. The details of the meeting are ob- 
scure and capable of contradictory interpretations. 
The general may have urged Brant to support the 
rebellion or at least remain neutral. The latter de- 
clared for the King and, without molestation from 
the militia, withdrew his people to Canajohiric 
Castle and, as had been noted, eventually joined 
St. Leger. At least some Americans believed that 
Herkimer had not conducted himself very well, and 
his leadership was compromised, a factor that was 
to have considerable influence when he attempted 
to support the fort a few weeks later.- 1 

Atmost simultaneous with this event. General 
Schuyler, while Burgoyne's main column was at 
Crown Point, learned something definite about the 
British plan. On June 29 he wrote Herkimer that 
he had heard that Sir John Johnson was on his 
way to Oswego and planned to attack Stanwix, and 
he ordered him to have the militia ready to support 
Gansevoort "at a moments warning." -- During 
the next day, he wrote to Gansevoort: "A report 
prevails that Sir John Johnson intends to attack 
your post. You will therefore put yourself in the 
best posture of defence ... I have written General 
Herkimer to support you with the militia, in case 
you should be attacked. Give him therefore th? 
most early intelligence if any enemy should ap- 
proach you. 23 

Intelligence that his fort was likely to be at- 
tacked did not take Gansevoort by surprise. As 
early as May 28, Oneida Indians reported that they 
had met hostiles on their way to Osewego who in- 
tended to attack the fort. 24 He and his men drove 
themselves, working against time to make the fort 
defensible and felling trees to obstruct Wood 
Creek.-" 1 His personnel problem was critical, and 
he feared a surprise while his men were on fatigue. 

General Schuyler immediately took steps to 
relieve the man-power and ordered Herkimer to put 

200 militiamen to clearing the road between Forts 
Dayton and Stanwix, so that reinforcement of 
Gansevoort might be expedited. Another 200 men 
were to be dispatched to reinforce the garrison. -" 
The general was not leaning upon a very 
sturdy reed. The Tyron County Committee was 
begging him to send Continental troops to the 
valley at almost the same moment he was ordering 
Herkimer to call out 400 men to assist Ganse- 
voort. This was at a time when Burgoyne was ad- 
vancing southward from Ticonderoga and Schuyler 
was desperately trying to impede that advance and 
save his army for a future stand. Writing from Fort 
Edward on July 10, he said: 

I am sorry, very sorry, that you should be calling upon 
me for assistance of Continental troops, when I have 
already spared you all I could [the 3d New York] 
. . . For God's sake do not forget that you are an 
overmatch for any force the enemy can bring against 
you, if you will act with spirit. 27 

The committee acted with a spirit, but not the 
kind the general desired. Poor Herkimer, who had 
to implement Schuyler's directions, wrote concern- 
ing the order to reinforce Gansevoort: 
Necessity urgeth me to trouble you again with these to 
acquaint you of the present circumstances of our 
county. Agreeable to your direction, I ordered 100 
men of my brigade for reinforcement of Fort Schuyler, 
but with great trouble I got them to assemble for 
march. The first arrived Party I sent along with some 
Officers to assist respectively with work and guard in 
repair of the road to Fort Schuyler, but instead of 
advancing of the others to be expected, I must hear 
to my surprise that they have been stopped in their 
march and countermanded entirely by an order of the 
committee chairman, Lt. Colo. Wm Seeber and a few 
members of the committee, as the inclosure will con- 
vince your honor clearly. I resented immediately these 
contrary proceedings, whereupon another committee 
meeting was called. I also renewed my orders that such 
a number of militia should march, and the committee 
at their last convention repealed the orders to the 
colonels, that the ordered militia should march on. 
But that stopping of the militia by the committee as 
aforesaid, made such a confusion and discouragement 
that I hardly got and was able to dispatch today a 
number of men sufficient to guard the battoes being 
loaded at German Flatts with provisions, arms and 
ammunition for Fort Schuyler. It appears a general 
disturbance and declining of courage in the militia of 
our county, for reason of which they allege that they 
see themselves exposed to a soon invasion of enemies 
and particularly of a large number of cruel savages. 

36 Fort Stanwix 

and foresaken of any assistance of troops to save the 
country. They alone think themselves not able to 
resist such enemies, for if they would gather them- 
selves to oppose their poor wives and children would 
be then left helpless and fall prey to merciless savages. 
I can assure you, that some are already busy moving 
away, some declare openly that if the enemy shall 
come, they will not leave home, but stay with their 
families, and render themselves over to the enemy, as 
they can't help themselves otherwise without succor. 
I may say, whole numbers of men in each district are 
so far discouraged, that they think it worthless to fight, 
and will not obey orders for battle, if the county is not 
in time succorded with at least 1,500 men, Continental 
troops. The loss of the important Fort Ticonderoga 
and Mt. Independence made the greatest number of 
our affected inhabitants downhearted, and maketh 
the disaffected bold. ... I was urged to promise ihe 
men. I sent to guard the battoes, and on the road as 
above mentioned, they shall not stay longer than three 
weeks from home to home and the committee orders 
are but for 16 days. 28 

Schuyler ordered Wesson's Continental Mas- 
sachusetts Regiment to move into Tyron County 
to encourage the people. 20 Reinforcements for the 
fort's garrison arrived from the 3d New York and 
the New York militia on July 19. :!0 

In an effort to improve both the strength and 
the morale of the people, Schuyler placed all of the 
troops in the county under the command of a 
senior colonel, Goose van Schaick, of the 1st New 
York, who had been wounded at Ticonderoga on 
July 6. :n 

The people at the fort became increasingly 
conscious of the dangers of the hour as work parties 
of militia labored under the protection of Conti- 
nentals to obstruct Wood Creek, as the reports of 
scouts brought news of the approaching enemy, and 
as hostile Indians prowled the woods trying to way- 
lay members of the garrison and local inhabitants. 
On Sunday, July 27. three girls went out to pick 
raspberries about 500 yards from the fort. A party 
of Indians fired on them, killing and scalping two 
and wounding the third. In order to protect his 
workers from ambush and to concentrate his man- 
power, Gansevoort called in the Wood Creek 
parties -' During the next day. he sent away "those 
women which belonged to the Garrison which have 
children with whom went the Man that was Scalped 
the Girl thai was Wounded Yesterday & Sick in 
the Hospital" 33 

Oneidas and Mohawks sent messages to the 

fort informing the commander of the progress of 
St. Leger's column and the whereabouts of Indian 
parties. These Indians were in a dangerous situa- 
tion. The other nations of the Confederacy were not 
likely to be merciful to any of their ancient allies 
who took a pacifist's position. Neutrality in any 
war is difficult and often dangerous. In border war- 
fare, it is practically impossible. If the Americans 
failed to turn back the British advance, the future 
of the friendly tribes would not be happy. 

Capt. Thomas De Witt, who had been left at 
Fort Dayton by Colonel Willett, arrived on the 13th 
with about 50 men of Garisevoort's regiment, and 
Maj. Ezra Badlam brought in 150 men of Col. 
James Wesson's 9th Massachusetts. The fort's 
commissary, a man named Hanson, arrived the 
same day with word that seven batteaux, loaded 
with provisions and ammunition were on their way 
up-stream. 34 Within 24 hours, Oneidas brought 
word that there were 100 "Strange Indians" at the 
old Royal Block House on their way to the fort. 
Fearing that they intended to intercept the batteaux. 
Gansevoort dispatched 100 men under a Captain 
Benschoten to reinforce the batteaux-guard. 35 

Gansevoort knew that it could be only a matter 
of hours before the fort would tried by the in- 
vaders, and he completed his preparations to receive 
them. Colonel Willett's Orderly Book records the 
disposition of the garrison: 

August 1, 1777 

A picquet guard to mount this evening consisting of 1 
capt 3 sub [subalterns] 4 sergeants. 1 drummer & 80 
privates who are in case of alarm by the firing of a 
gun to mount and man the bastions, 1 commissioned | 
officer 1 sergeant 1 corporal and 20 privates on each 
bastion, and if the officer commanding the picquet 
should think the alarm of sufficient importance he is 
immediately to order the drums to beat the alarm, 
upon which the garrison is to turn out Immediately 
and to repair to the alarm posts, Major Badlam's 
detachment to man the S. E. bastion and adjacent 
curtain. Captains De Witt. Swartout and Bleecker to 
man the N. E. bastion Capt. Gregg's Company to 
repair to the parade till further order . . . . 3f> 

Blocking Wood Creek had been so effective 
that St. Leger's column was advancing too slowly 
to suit his purposes, and he feared that additional 
men and supplies would reach the fort before he 
could get into an investing position. In order to 
obtain intelligence and intercept any relief parlies. 
he sent an advance guard under Lieutenant Bird 

History 37 

toward the fort. The lieutenant had difficulty with 
Indians, most of whom would not advance. 37 

Upon receiving the lieutenant's report that 
closed with the statement: "those with the scout of 
fifteen I had the honor to mention to you in my 
last, are sufficient to invest Fort Stanwix if you 
honor me so far as not to order the contrary," the 
commander replied: 

your resolution of investing Fort Stanwix is perfectly 
right; and to enable you to do it with greater effect, I 
have detached Joseph [Brant] and his corps of Indians 
to reinforce you. You will observe that I will have 
nothing but an investiture made; and in case the 
enemy observing the discretion and judgment with 
which it is made, should offer to capitulate, you are to 
tell them that you are sure I am well disposed to listen 
to them: this is not to take any glory or honour out of 
a young soldier's hands, but by the presence of the 
troops to prevent the barbarity and carnage which will 
ever obtain where Indians make so superior a part of a 
detachment . . . , 38 

It is easy to laugh at the brigadier's optimism 
in imagining that the garrison might surrender to so 
limited a display of force, but he shared two fairly 
common attitudes of his contemporaries: disdain 
for provincial arms and determination and a hu- 
' mane fear of what Indians might do to surrendered 
persons in the absence of a large number of regular 
troops. While he naturally hoped that a mere show 
of force would persuade the Americans to surren- 
der, he probably did not really expect them to; 
and his orders to Bird simply provided for the 

After the advanced party reached the ruins of 
Fort Newport, the batteaux that Gansevoort was 
expecting approached Fort Stanwix. Colbrath's 
August 2 entry in his journal described the event: 

Four batteaus arrived being those the Party went to 
meet having a Guard of 100 Men of Colonel Weston's 
[Wesson] Regiment from Fort Dayton under the 
Command of Lieut-Col. Millen [Mellen] of that 
Regiment The Lading being brought safe into the Fort 
the Guard marched in when our Centinels on the SW 
Bastion discovered the Enemys fires in the woods near 
Fort Newport, upon which the Troops ran to their 
Respective Alarm posts in this Time we discovered 
some Men Running from the Landing towards the 
Garrison On their coming they Informed us, that the 
Batteau Men who had staid behind when the Guard 
marched into the Fort had been Fired on by the 
Enemy at the Landing that two of them were wounded, 
the Master of the Batteaus taken prisoner and one 

Man Missing. A party of 30 Men with a field piece 
was sent out in the Evening to set Fire to two Barns 
standing a Little distance from the Fort, Two cannon 
from the SW Bastion loaded with Grape Shott, were 
first Fired at the Barnes to drive of [f] the Enemys 
Indians that might have been Sculking about them 
when the party having Effected their Design 
Return'd 3! > 

The advanced party had failed to accomplish 
its immediate mission, i.e., intercepting the supply 
boats, but the "investiture" of Fort Stanwix was 
begun. St. Leger was not able to commit all of his 
men to laying siege to the camp, because 110 of 
them were employed for nine days clearing the 
obstacles from Wood Creek and another party to 
cutting a temporary road from Fish Creek over 
which to bring artillery and stores. 40 

On the day the siege opened, two or possibly 
three, important events have been reported as 
taking place. The first occurred early in the morn- 
ing of Sunday, August 3, when a flag that has en- 
tered American folklore was raised on one of the 
fort's bastions. Briefly stated, the tradition de- 
veloped during the nineteenth century that the news 
of the passage of the Flag Resolution by the Conti- 
nental Congress on June 14 reached Fort Stanwix, 
either in a letter to Colonel Gansevoort or in a 
newspaper account brought in when the batteaux 
and one hundred men of the 9th Massachusetts 
Regiment arrived under Lt. Col. James Mellen on 
the second. Upon receiving this dramatic news, 
some of the people prepared a flag of thirteen 
stripes, alternating red and white, and thirteen 
stars on a blue field in compliance with the con- 
gressional resolution. This new national standard 
was then hoisted and a salute fired, marking the 
first time the Stars and Stripes flew over American 
troops. If true, this was certainly one of the most 
dramatically significant events of the American 

One of the early champaions of this interpre- 
tation was Pomeroy Jones, a local scholar whose 
interest in Fort Stanwix's history had a lasting in- 
fluence on the work of the later scholars. Jones was 
born several years after the siege; but he knew a 
number of veterans and their children, including 
Judge Joshua Hathaway and his son Jay, and in- 
voked their memories in identifying the flag as the 
"Stars and Stripes." 41 Jones's account was the 
basis for a number of assertions concerning the flag, 
including Dr. James Weise's, that the new national 

38 Fort Stanwix 

flag was unfurled, a salute fired, and that an adju- 
tant read the resolution from the newspaper brought 
to the fort by the battcaux detail. 4 -' Weise's version 
was picked up by the New Lamed History, in 
which the following appears: 

. . . the Journal of Capt. Swartwout of Col. Gansevoort's 
regiment written August 3, 1777 in Ft. Schuyler shows 
beyond cavil when the first flag of Stars and Stripes of 
which we have record was made and hoisted, but it 
was in a fort (Schuyler), not in the field, or at the 
head of a regiment. ,:i 

There is no Startwout Journal, just Weise's 
publication, which was not based upon any original 

John Albert Scott's popular Fort Stanwix 
(Fort Schuyler) and Oriskany repeated the story of 
the newspaper report and the raising of the "first 
Stars and Stripes." " Although Fort Stanwix's 
claims were frequently disputed in favor of other 
sites as Bennington, Brandywine, and Guilford 
Courthouse, many writers uncritically perpetuated 
the tradition. 

A study of the evidence upon which to assess 
the Sanwix flag's significance is in order. The basic 
document for the origin of the Stars and Stripes 
is the so-called Flag Resolution passed by the Con- 
tinental Congress on June 14, 1777. which reads: 
"RESOLVED: that the flag of the United States be 
made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white: 
that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue 
field representing a new constellation." 4r ' This 
resolution was preceded and followed by matters 
brought to the Congress's attention by its Marine 
Committee. Since the resolution was converting the 
unofficial Grand Union into an official standard, 
substituting thirteen stars upon a blue field for the 
canton derived from the British Union, which com- 
bined the crosses of Saints George and Andrew, it 
was appropriate that it emanate from that com- 
mittee. This was the case because, following British 
precedent, flying the Grand Union was common 
to ships and permanent land installations. Thus. 
the Congress was providing for a new marine flag. 
not a national military standard. 

Crucial to the examination of the Fort Stanwix 
tradition is the record of what happened immedi- 
ately after the passage of the resolution. Thacher's 
Military Journal's entry for August 3. 1777, noted 
that: "It appears by the papers that Congress re- 

solved on 14 of June last, that the flag of the thir- 
teen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red 
and white, that the union be thirteen stars in a blue 
geld . . ." 4<1 At first blush, Thacher's statement 
seems to be evidence that the news of the resolu- 
tion had reached Albany, where he was on duty at 
the hospital, if not Fort Stanwix, by August 3. 
However, so far as this writer has been able to de- 
termine, the first public notice of the resolution 
appeared in the Pennsylvania Evening Post on Au- 
gust 20 in the following item: "In Congress, June 
14, 1777. Resolved that the FLAG of the United 
States be THIRTEEN STRIPES alternate red and 
white; that the union be THIRTEEN STARS white 
in a blue field. Extract from minutes, CHARLES 
THOMSON, sec." 4T Other papers printed the 
resolution between September 3 and October 2, and 
the first New York papers to publish it were the 
September 8 issue of the New York Journal and 
General Advertiser and the September issue of 
New York Patent and the American Advertiser. 
The papers to which Thacher most likely had access 
were the two from New York and the Boston 
papers, the Gazette and the Spy, in which the story 
appeared on September 15 and 18 respectively. 4 * 
The obvious conflict in testimony can only be ex- 
plained by acknowledging that the doctor may have 
had access to a newspaper that is unknown to his- 
torians or, more probably, that when the Journal 
was prepared for publication prior to January 1. 
1832, this was one of the instances in which alter- 
ations were made in organizing the material of the 
original manuscript. 

More immediately pertinent to the Fort Stan- 
wix flag are the testimonies of William Colbrath 
and Marinus Willett. In the entry for Sunday. Au- 
gust 3. Colbrath wrote: "Early this morning a Con- 
tinental Flagg made by the officers of Col. Ganse- 
voort's Regiment was hoisted and a cannon levelled 
at the Enemies Camp was fired on this occasion.'* 19 
His calling the standard a "Continental" Union is 
important because that was the term applied to the 
Grand Union. It is also significant that he did not 
refer to the flag as a new one. as would have been 
natural if he was recording such a momentous 

Lieutenant Colonel Willett wrote one of the 
earliest accounts of the siege in a letter to Jonathan 
Trumbull. Jr. He was probably also' the author of 
the account that appeared in the August 28 issue of 

History 39 

the Independent Chronicle and Universal Advertiser 
under the title "Extract of a Letter from an Offi- 
cer of Distinction." In neither of these nor in his 
Oderly Book did he refer to the flag, a surprising 
oversight if it was as historically important as such 
a first would have been. 50 

Concerning the cloak from which the blue 
cloth had been cut, Willett wrote: "What Baggage 
the enemy had it consisting of only a few Blankets 
and Cloaks — A blue Camblot Cloak taken here 
! [Pcekskill] afterwards served to enable us to use 
it for blue strips of a Flagg which was afterwards 
hoisted during the siege of Fort Schuyler." 52 The 
statement about blue strips could only refer to a 
Continental flag, because the Stars and Stripes has 
a blue field, not blue stripes. 

More than thirty years after the siege, Willett 
prepared the manuscript of his "Narrative," in 
which he wrote: 

The Fort had never been supplied with a Flagg — The 
importance of having one on the arrival of the enemy 
had set our Ingenuity to work, and a respectable one 
was formed the white stripes were cut out of ammuni- 
tion shirts the blue strips out of the Cloak foermerly 
mentioned taken from the Enemy at Peeks-Kill. The 
i red strips out of different pieces of stuff collected from 
■ sundry persons. The Flagg was sufficiently large and a 
general Exhilaration of spirits appeared on beholding 
it Wave the morning after the arrival of the enemy. 51 

That Marinus Willett had an appreciation of 
his historic role is apparent in his letters and the 
"Narrative." If he had been a party to or a witness 
of the manufacture and display of the first national 
flag, the fact would have been prominently re- 
corded by him. 

The papers of two other important American 
officials, Peter Schuyler and Peter Gansevoort, 
would be expected to throw some light upon such 
an importnt subject. General Schuyler was the 
commanding general of the Northern Department 
when the Flag Resolution was passed and continued 
in that office until August 19. If the Resolution 
had been published or become a matter of either 
official or common knowledge during that period 
and if it had the effect of authorizing a new national 
military standard, he would have been among the 
first to have known about it. Schuyler was a meticul- 
ous record keeper. His papers include all the corre- 
spondence he received from the Congress, General 
Washington, and every person with whom the had 

occasion to transact public or private business, as 
well as copies of all letters and documents that he 
sent to them. There is nothing in that important 
collection to indicate that the general or any of his 
correspondents knew about the Resolution before it 
was published on August 20. 

Peter Gansevoort, the fort's commanding offi- 
cer, also left a valuable collection of papers. They 
contain no letter advising him of the passage of 
the Flag Resolution. Nor do they include any docu- 
ments that would support the assertion that the 
flag raised at his post was one that reflected compli- 
ance with the congressional act. 

One of the soldiers of the 3d New York Regi- 
ment was James (Alexander) Mc Graw, who had 
enlisted during July 1775 and been shot in a leg 
during the Canadian campaign of 1775-76. He 
re-enlisted in Capt. Leonard Bleeker's company, 3d 
New York, and was confined to quarters at Fort 
Stanwix in March 1778 because of an "Ulcerous 
leg." It may have been during that period of con- 
valescence that he carved the powder-horn that 
has figured prominently in the flag controversy, 
although the date on the specimen is December 25, 
1 777. r ' :{ 

If the horn is genuine and McGraw made it, 
and its accuracy in depicting the fort and its com- 
ponents argues for its authenticity, it offers valu- 
able evidence. Flying from the southwest bastion is 
a flag that, except for the absence of the cross of 
St. George, resembles the Grand Union very 

A second powder-horn is one that apparently 
was carved by Christopher Hutton, who after serv- 
ing in Meade's Regiment of New York Militia, 
became an ensign in Cpt. Henry Tiebout's Com- 
pany of the 3d New York Regiment on November 
21, 1776, and was made regimental adjutant on 
May 28, 1778. He subsequently received a lieu- 
tenant's commission on February 6, 1779, trans- 
ferred to the 2d New York on January 1, 1783, 
and was discharged on June 3, 1783. 54 His tour of 
duty at Fort Stanwix presumably extended from the 
end of March 1777 to November 1780, the period 
during which the regiment garrisoned the post. 

At an unknown date, but presumably 1777. 
he carved or had carved for him, the horn associ- 
ated with his name. The specimen has several sub- 
jects incised into its sides, including "Chris. Hutton 
1777"; a diagrammatic sketch of the Mohawk and 

40 Fort Stanwix 

Schoharie Rivers; "Ft. Schuyler III Rege"; "Ft 
EWD"; a field cannon and a pyramidal stack of 
six balls; an Indian armed with a musket and Toma- 
hawk; a mounted figure with the caption, "Peter.": 
and most important to this study— a flag of stars 
and stripes. 

The Hutton power-horn is more difficult to 
interpret than the McGraw specimen. It does not 
include such elements as the fort that make a com- 
parison with documented data possible; and it poses 
several questions that defy easy solutions. The 
most obvious is whether it is what it is purported 
to be. Since there is no conclusive authentication, 
that question remains moot; although on the basis 
of design, lettering, and general appearance, it ap- 
pears to be a late 18th century specimen. The 
second question is, what designer's objective? Was 
he using the characters to illustrate events that 
occurred at Fort Stanwix in 1777? If so, why was 
the small legend "Ft EDW,"' which must refer to 
Fort Edward, included? That fort was located at 
another important carrying place, the one between 
the Hudson River and Wood Creek that provided 
a portage to and from Lake Champlain. Why was 
l he Hag located where it was? It, obviously was not 
intended to mark Stanwix's location in relation to 
the Mohawk River. While the mounted man cap- 
tioned "Peter" may represent Colonel Gansevoort, 
it was a strange way for lowly Revolutionary period 
ensign to identify the regiment's commander. 

Ensign Hutton may have intended that the 
powder-horn present a graphic record of his mili- 
tary career. But that still does not solve the prob- 
lem of the flag. The question of when the horn 
was carved remains. Does it really date from 1777, 
or is it a later exercise in nostalgia? Because there 
is almost overwhelming evidence that Hutton could 
not have known of the passage of the Flag Resolu- 
tion until during the autumn of 1777, it must be 
assumed that the horn was made some time after 
the siege. There is no answer that satisfies all the 
canons for historical criticism. 

Another of the powder-horns that depict Fort 
Stanwix and a Hag is one attributed to James Wil- 
son, a private in Col. Goose Van Schaick's 1st 
New York Regiment, which garrisoned the fort 
from tin- end of 1778 until November 1780. Al- 
though it does not show the buildings that stood 
within the fort, it does include five sentry boxes, 
the necessary, and a structure on the southeast 

bastion that was demolished on December 20, 1780, 
after the 1st New York moved out. Along with 
other features, both historic and decorative, it also 
has an elaborate symbol of a hand grasping thirteen 
arrows surrounded by a floral scroll bearing the 
AMERICA." There is also a flag flying over the 
fort, an ensign of eleven stripes without a canton 
and stars."'"' The fact that this flag differed signifi- 
cantly from the Grand Union and the Stars and 
Stripes docs not detract from the specimen's value, 
but reflected the historic reality as will become ap- 
parent in the following paragraphs. 

Turning from the power-horns, with their evi- 
dentiary problems to the sounder ground of docu- 
mentary evidence, it should be remembered that 
the congressional resolution of June 14 concerned 
a maritime flag and was not intended to provide an 
official standard to troops in the field. This is con- 
firmed by subsequent events. 

Almost two years after the siege of Fort Stan- 
wix, Richard Peters, secretary of the Board of War. 
wrote to Genera] Washington that requisitions for 
drums and colors had not been filled because "we 
have not the materials to make either in sufficient 
numbers." He went on to write concerning the 

... as to the Colours, we have refused them for 
another reason. The Baron Steuben [Inspector-General] 
mentioned when he was here [Philadelphia] that he 
would settle with your Excellency some Plan as to the 
Colours. It was intended that every Regiment should 
have two Colours — one a Standard of the United 
States, which should be the same throughout the 
Army, and the other a Regimental Colour which 
should vary according to the facings of the Regiment. 
But it is not yet settled what is the Standard of the U. 
Stales. If your Excellency will therefore favour us 
with your Opinion on the Subject we will report to 
Congress and request them to establish a Standard 
and as soon as this is done we will endeavour 
to get Materials and order a Number made sufficient 
for the Army. Neither can we tell what should 
be the Regimental Colours as Uniforms were by late 
Resolution of Congress to be settled by Your 
Excellenex ' 

Peters' letter makes il obvious that the resolu- 
tion of June 14. 1777, did not authorize a national 
military standard, that as of May 1779, no such flag 
had been adopted, and that the Board of War would 
ask the Congress to establish one after Washington 
had expressed his opinion on the matter. 

History 41 

The Board continued to consider the design for 
a new national military flag during the summer of 
1779 and by September had narrowed the choice 
to: "The one with the Union and Emblem in the 
middle ... as a variant from the Marine Flag." r>T 
The Marine Flag was the Stars and Stripes, and 
the Board favored a different form for military use. 

The matter was still unsettled when the final 
shot of the war was fired in South Carolina in 1782. 
This does not mean that no flags of one design or 
another including stars and stripes appeared on the 
field. One of them, the so-called Bennington Flag, is 
believed by some students to be the oldest such color. 
While there is no contemporary record to confirm its 
Revolutionary vintage, a nineteenth century tradi- 
tion claims that it was raised at Bennington by 
President Fillmore's grandfather, Nathaniel Fill- 
more, who kept it until during the War of 1812, 
when he gave it to his nephew. Septa Fillmore, in 
whose family it remained until 1926. It does not 
conform to the Flag Resolution, having in the cen- 
ter of the union the number "76." Nor could it 
have been carried in the field, being ten feet long 
by five and half feet wide. 58 

Another claimant for honors is a flag that is 
said to have been carried by North Carolina militia 
at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse on March 15. 
1781. Noted flag authority R. C. Ballard Thurston 
believed that this is the only such flag carried by 
troops during the war. It does not follow the color 
scheme defined in the Flag Resolution in that it 
has seven blue and six red stripes and thirteen blue 
stars on a white union. 59 

That the Stars and Stripes flew at Yorktown 
is attested by a contemporary watercolor by Lt. 
Col. John Graves Simcoe of the Queen's Rangers. 
It resembles the Guilford flag in having red and 
blue stripes and blue union with "a pattern figures, 
marks or, perhaps, stars in what seems to be a 
darker shade of blue." 00 

It might be argued that the flag flown at Fort 
Stanwix was also an unofficial version of the Stars 
and Stripes. However, that contradicts Colbrath's 
testimony and strains Willett's statement, to say 
nothing of the evidence, for what it is worth, of the 
McGraw powder-horn. If it was certainly not a re- 
sult of the Flag Resolution, for there is not a scintila 
of evidence that anyone in the fort knew of the 
Congress's act in August 1777. 

An exhaustive, if not comprehensive, search 

has failed to locate any claims identifying the Fort 
Stanwix Flag as the Stars and Stripes that date be- 
fore the 1850's, three-quarters of a century after 
the siege. 

In the absence of testimony favoring the tra- 
dition that meets the minimum canons for historical 
accuracy, a careful study of the documentary 
sources leads to the conclusion that the fort's flag 
was a locally made version of the Grand Union and 
could not have been the first Stars and Stripes to be 
flown over American troops in the presence of the 

There is a tradition that on the day the siege 
was opened St. Leger paraded his troops to over- 
awe the garrison. Hoffman Nickerson, as usual 
without citing a source, records it as follows: 

St. Leger's first thought was to impress the garrison. 
Accordingly he held a review of his entire force within 
sight of the besieged. From their palisaded earthworks 
Gansevoort and his men could see the white breeches 
and scarlet coats of the British infantry, the blue coats 
of the British artillerymen, and green faced with red 
of the German chasseurs, and the green faced with 
white which gave Sir John Johnson's regiment the 
name of Royal Greens. Here and there may have 
appeared the black skull cap fronted with a brass 
plate and the green coat faced vermillion which were 
the official uniform of Butler's rangers. But for the 
most part these last seem to have been painted and 
dressed like Indians. If so they increased what must 
have been the deep-set impression made upon those 
within, that is, that of St. Leger's command the 
greater number were savages. The sight of the Indians 
with their feathers, their hideous warpaint, toma- 
hawks, and scalping knives, and the sound of their war 
whoop, showed the garrison vividly enough what 
would be their own fate should their resistance fail 
and what would happen to the settlements behind 

At the same time the review must have shown them 
that in white men alone the numbers of St. Leger's 
force were at most equal and if anything inferior to 
their own. 01 

Christopher Ward, also without citing a 
source, told the same story in less detail. - Con- 
temporary American and British reports that have 
been consulted in the preparation of this study do 
not document such a review. Colbrath did record 
in his Journal for August 3 that "about three o'clock 
this after the Enemy shewed themselves to the 
Garrison on all Sides Carry'd off some Hay from 
a Field near the Garrison." G3 However, this falls 

42 Fort Stanwix 

short of corroborating the dramatic show of force 
that Nickerson and Ward described. 

At 3 p.m., St. Leger sent Captain Ticc under 
a flag to demand the fort's surrender and offered 
protection to the garrison. Colbrath recorded that 
the demand and promise were "Rejected with dis- 
dain." (| William L. Stone, who was not above 
tampering with his sources in the interest of a good 
story, gave this text of the British general's 

By BARRY ST. LEGER, Esq., commander-in-chief 
of a chosen body of troops from the grand army, as 
well as an extensive corps of Indian allies from all the 
nations, &c., &c. 

The forces entrusted to my command are designed to 
act in concert, and upon a common principle, with the 
numerous armies and fleets which already display on 
every quarter of America, the power, justice, and, 
when properly sought, the mercy of the king. 

The cause in which the British arms are thus exerted., 
applies to the most affecting interest of the human 
heart, and the military servants of the crown, at first 
called forth for the sole purpose of restoring the rights 
of the constitution, now combine with love of their 
country and duty to their sovereign, the other extensive 
incitements which spring from a due sense of the 
general privileges of mankind. To the eyes and ears of 
the temperate part of the public, and to the breast 
of suffering thousands in the provinces, be the melan- 
choly appeal, whether the present unnatural rebellion 
has not been made a foundation for the completest 
system of tyranny that even God in his displeasure 
suffered for a time to he exercised over a froward and 
stubborn generation. Arbitrary imprisonment, con- 
fiscation of property, persecution and torture unpre- 
cedented in the inquisitions of the Romish Church, are 
among the palpable enormities that verify the affirma- 
tive these arc inflicted by Assemblies and committees 
who dare to profess themselves friends of liberty, upon 
the most quiet subjects, without distinction of age or 
sex, for the sole crime, often for the sole suspicion of 
having adhered in principle to the government under 
which the\ were born, and to which by everv tie. 
divine and human, they owe allegiance. To con- 
summate these shocking proceedings, the profanation 
of religion is added to the most profligate prosecution 
of common reason; the consciences of men are set at 
naught: and multitudes are compelled, not only to bear 
arms, but also to swear subjection to usurpation they 

Animated by these considerations: at the head of 
troops in the full powers of health, discipline and 
valor, determined to strike when necessary, and 
anxious to spare where possible: 1 by these presents 

invite and exhort all persons, in all places, where the 
progress of this army may point, and by the blessing 
of God I will extend it far, to maintain such a conduct 
as may justify me in protecting these lands, habitations 
and families. The intention of this address is to hold 
forth security, not depredation to the country. 

To those whom spirit and principle may induce them 
to partake the glorious task of redeeming their coun- 
trymen from dungions, and reestablishing the blessings 
of legal government, 1 offer encouragement and em- 
ployment; and upon the first intelligence of their as- 
sociations, 1 will find means to assist their undertak- 
ings. The domestic, the industrious, the infirm, and 
even the timid inhabitants, I am desirous to protect, 
provided they remain quietly at their houses; that they 
do not suffer their cattle to be removed, nor their corn 
or forage to be secreted or destroyed; that they do not 
break up their bridges or roads; nor by any other acts, 
directly or indirectly, endeavor to obstruct the opera- 
tions of the king's troops or supply those of the enemy. 

Every species of provision brought to my camp will be 
paid for at an equitable rate in solid coin. If, notwith- 
standing these sincere endeavors and sincere inclina- 
tions to effect them, the frenzy of hostility should re- 
main. I trust I shall stand acquitted in the eyes of God 
and man, in denouncing and executing the vengeance 
of the state against wilful outcasts. The messengers of 
justice and of wrath await them in the field and 
devastation, famine and every concomitant horror that 
a reluctant but indispensable prosecution of military 
duty must occasion, will bar the way to their return. 

Barry St. Leger 

By order of the Commander-in-chief 
Will., OSB. HAMILTON, Secretary. 65 

This proclamation was an almost verbatim 
copy of General Burgoyne's and it was equally 

The Americans continued to try to work at 
strengthening the fort against the assault that they 
were certain St. Legcr would undertake whenever 
he was able to bring up his artillery and the men 
who were working on the temporary road and clear- 
ing a passage on Wood Creek. However, the con- 
tinuing fire from the Indians harassed the working 
parties, forcing them to work at night. On the night 
of the 4th. details went out and brought in 27 
stacks of hay for the cattle that were impounded in 
the fort's ditch and to burn a house and barn that 
obstructed the field of fire. 08 The Indians' fire re- 
sulted in two deaths among the garrison on the 4th 
and 5th, and six were wounded during the former. 
The barracks that I amarquise had erected outside 

History 43 

the fort was burned by the British during the late 
afternoon of the 5th. 07 

On the same afternoon, St. Leger received 
word from the late Sir William Johnson's Indian 
wife, Molly Brant, that a relief column was on its 
way to the fort and would be within 10 or 12 miles 
of the British camp by that night. St. Leger now 
had a serious tactical problem to solve. He had to 
sustain the siege and destroy the relief column. 

The relief column was General Herkimer's re- 
sponse to learning of St. Leger's advance on the 
fort. On June 30 he ordered the Tryon County 
militia to muster at Fort Dayton. By August 4, 
between 800 and 900 men assembled and the march 
to raise the siege was begun. On the night of the 
5th Herkimer sent three or four scouts forward to 
inform Gansevoort of his advance and to ask the 
fort's commander to cooperate if the enemy should 
attack the militia. Gansevoort was asked to fire 
three shots to acknowledge receipt of the runners 
and to express his willingness to make a sortie when 
Herkimer's column approached, then to engage the 
enemy about the fort and prevent them from con- 
centrating on the militia. 

On the morning of the 6th, Herkimer had 
reached a critical point in his march to the fort's 
aid. No cannon shots had been heard from its de- 
fenders. Should he continue to advance or await 
the expected signal? He convened a council of war 
to discuss the matter. His preference was for wait- 
ing for the signal, but the overwhelming majority 
of his officers favored an immediate advance. The 
discussion became heated, and as the commander 
maintained his opinion with traditional Teutonic 
stubbornness some of the officers accused him of 
Tory sympathies or cowardice, making much of the 
fact that one of his brothers was an officer in Sir 
John's regiment. Berated and maligned, the old 
soldier-farmer yielded and gave the order to march. 
With his Oneida scouts in the lead, the general took 
the head of a double column of about 600 men, 
followed by a 200-man rear-guard. 

When he received the news of Herkimer's ad- 
vance, St. Leger dispatched about 400 Indians and 
the light infantry company of Sir John's regiment, 
under Sir John, Colonel Butler and Joseph Brant, 
to ambush the military relief force. 

With surprisingly poor march security, the 
Tryon men marched to a place about six miles from 
the fort where the road crossed a broad ravine 

about 50 feet deep with very steep banks. There 
the Anglo-Indian party had laid an ambush with 
the light infantrymen on the west and the Indians 
along the ravine's margin in a curve, leaving the 
eastern side open to Herkimer's men. When the 
middle of the column was deep in the ravine, the 
light infantrymen were to check its head while the 
Indians closed the circle around the rear-guard. 

The main body of the column made its way 
into the ravine and up the western side when the 
Indians east of the ravine opened fire and rushed 
the road-bound militiamen. The trap was sprung 
too early to catch the rear-guard, which fled. Her- 
kimer, at the column's head, turned back to investi- 
gate the firing. The light infantry and Indians on 
the west rushed forward; and the general's horse 
fell dead and he suffered a wounded leg. 

The circle was completed; and the Americans 
took cover behind trees, formed small circles, and 
fought with a valor born of desperation. After 
three-quarters of an hour, a cloudburst wet the 
muskets' priming and for an hour the fighting 
stopped. During the lull, Herkimer's men took 
cover by twos so that, when one had fired and was 
reloading, the other would be ready to shoot any of 
the enemy that attacked. 

The Tryon County men gave a good account 
of themselves that day; and the Indians, who suf- 
fered severely, began to lose their aggressiveness. 
At this point, a second detachment of Sir John's 
regiment, under Major Watts, arrived on the scene. 
He ordered his men to turn their coats inside out, 
concealing their uniforms. Thus they advanced 
under the guise of a sortie from the fort. The mili- 
tia discovered the ruse and attacked, and a fierce 
hand-to-hand fight followed that ended when the 
Indians retreated, followed by the white troops. 
The Battle of Oriskany was over. The militia was 
too badly mauled to pursue, and they gathered 
their wounded to begin the march back to Fort 
Dayton. 68 

The morning of August 6 was a time of un- 
certainty at the fort. The garrison noted that the 
Indians, who had been maintaining a continual 
firing, were going away from the immediate area 
toward the lower landing on the Mohawk. Not 
knowing what was really happening, the officers 
and men feared that something was afoot in the 
river valley and that the loyalty of its inhabitants. 

44 Fort Stanwix 

would weaken if the fort were reported taken. Col- 
brath expressed the men's fears in these terms: 
This Morning the Indians were seen going off from 
around the Garrison towards the Landing as they 
withdraw we had not much firing. Being uneasy least 
the Tories should Report that the Enemy had taken 
the Fort Lieut. Diefendorf was Ordered to get Ready 
to set of [f| for Albany this Evening to Inf Gen ' 
Schuyler of our Situation. ,; '' 

But before the lieutenant could get away, the 
men whom Herkimer had sent with the message of 
his approach arrived, and Colbrath recorded that: 

between 9 & 10 this morning three Militia Men 
Arrived here with a Letter from Gen ' Harkeman 
[Herkimer] wherein he writes that he had Arrived at 
Orisca [Oriskany] with 1000 Militia in Order to Re- 
lieve the Garrison and open the Communication which 
was then Entirely Blocked up and that if Colonel 
Should hear a Firing of small Arms desired he wou'd 
send a party from the Garrison to Reinforce Him. 
General Harkeman desired that the Colonel would fire 
three Cannon if the Three Men got safe into the Fort 
with his Letter which was done and followed by three 
cheers by the whole Garrison. According to Gen * 
Harkemans Request the Colonel Detached two 
Hundred Men and one Field piece under command of 
Lieut. Colonel Willett with Orders to proceed down 
the Road to meet the Generals party. 70 

In his letter of August 11, his first account of 
the events. Colonel Willett wrote: 

Wednesday morning there was an unusual silence; we 
discovered some of the enemy marching along the 
edge of the woods downwards. About eleven o'clock, 
three men got into the fort, who brought a letter from 
Gen. Harkeman, of the Tryon county militia, advising 
us that he was at Eriska (eight miles from the fort) 
with part of his militia, and proposed to force his way 
to the fort, for our relief. — In order to render him 
what service we could in his march, it was agreed that 
I should make a sally from the fort with two hundred 
and fifty men. consisting one half of Gansevoort's, 
and one half of Massachusetts men, and one field 
piece, (an iron three pounder) The men were in- 
stantly paraded, and I ordered the following disposi- 
tions to be made: Thirty men for the advanced guard 
to be commanded by Van Bcnscoten and Lieut. 
Stockwell: thirty for the rear guard under the com- 
mand of Capt. Allen of the Massachusetts troops, and 
Lieut. DurlTcndrefT: thirty for flank guards, to be 
commanded by Capt. from Massachusetts. 

and Ensign ( hase. The main body formed into eight 
subdivisions, commanded b\ (apt. Bleaker. Lieuten- 
ants Conine. Bogardus. M'Clcnme. and Ostrander. 
Ensign Baylcy, Lewis, and Dennison, I ieut. Ball, the 

only supernumerary officer, to march with me. Capt. 
Johnson to bring up the rear of the main body — Capt. 
Swardwoundt, with Ensigns Magee and Arent, with 
fifty men to guard the field piece, which was under 
the direction of Major Badlam. 71 

Thus the detachment from the fort set out 
down the old military road that lay between Al- 
bany and Oswego. When the column reached a 
point a little more than half a mile from the fort, 
it came upon Sir John Johnson's camp and its mis- 
sion was altered on the spot. The troops raided this 
camp, the nearby Indian one, and perhaps Lieu- 
tenant Bird's about half a mile away at the "Lower 
Landing Place." The colonel reported: 
Nothing could be more fortunate than this enterprize. 
We totally routed two of the enemy's encampments, 
destroyed all their provision that was in them, brought 
off upwards of fifty brass kettles, and more than a 
hundred blankets (two articles which were much 
needed by us) with a number of muskets, tomahawks, 
spears, ammunition, cloathing, deer skins, a variety of 
Indian affairs, and five colours, which on our return 
to the fort, were displayed on our flagstaff, under the 
Continental flag. The Indians took chiefly to the 
woods, the rest of their troops to the river. The 
number of men lost by the enemy is uncertain, six lay 
dead in their encampment, two of which were Indians, 
several scattered about in the woods, but their greatest 
loss appeared to be in crossing the river, and no 
inconsiderable number on the opposite shore. I was 
happy in preventing the men from scalping even the 
Indians, being desirous, if possible, of teaching even 
the Savages humanity. But the men were better em- 
ployed, and kept in excellent order. We were out so 
long, that a number of British regulars, accompanied 
by what Indians. &c. could be rallied, had marched 
down to a thicket on the other side of the river, about 
fifty yards from the road we were to pass on our re- 
turn; near this place I had ordered the field piece. The 
ambush was not quite formed when we discovered 
them, and gave them a well directed fire. — Here 
especially. Major Badlam. with his field piece, did 
considerable execution — here, also, the enemy were 
annoyed by the fire of several cannon from the fort. 
as they marched round to form the ambuscade. The 
enemy's fire was very wild, and though we were very 
much exposed, did not execution at all. 72 

The loot taken from the camps included "sev- 
eral bundles of papers and a parcel of letters be- 
longing to our garrison, which they had taken from 
our militia, but not yet opened. . . . There were 
likewise papers belonging to Sir John Johnson, and 
several others of the enemv's officers, with letters 

History 45 

to and from Gen. St. Leger, their Commander; 
their papers have been of some service to us." 73 

From prisoners brought in from the camp, 
the garrison learned about the fight at Oriskany, 
the enemy's strength, the number and type of his 
artillery. 74 

The question of why Willett stopped to plun- 
der the camp instead of obeying the order to meet 
Herkimer is not clearly answered — in fact, it is not 
broached in the contemporary documents. The 
men from the fort did not know that the militia 
had been engaged, but their curiosity must have 
been piqued by the absence of so large at part of 
the enemy. Apparently, Willett simply decided that 
the immediate and obvious benefits to be derived 
from attacking the camps outweighed any obliga- 
tion to rendezvous with Herkimer. Although it 
could not have influenced Willett's decision, it was 
too late to have done the militia much good. Adam 
Hellmer, one of Herkimer's runners, testified that 
he entered the fort at one o'clock, although Col- 
brath wrote that the men came in by 10 a.m. and 
Willett put their arrival at "about 1 1 o'clock." If, as 
is probable, Hellmer was correct, Willett's detail 
did not leave the fort until nearly mid-afternoon, 
too late to have influenced the outcome at Oriskany. 
This fact, along with the results of his raid, prob- 
ably muted criticism of his failure to execute his 

St. Leger, from his main encampment north- 
east of the fort, undertook to intercept Willett's 
sortie, but arrived too late to prevent its successful 
return with the captured goods. 75 

The raid on the Indian camp was to have 
especially significant results. The loss of their 
clothes, blankets, and provisions coupled with the 
loss of several of their chiefs at Oriskany dampened 
their enthusiasm for what was threatening to be- 
come a long, unrewarding siege, a type operation 
for which they rarely had an affinity. In fact, the 
British situation was not nearly good enough to 
give much promise of success, unless St. Leger 
could persuade the fort's garrison that defence of 
the post was doomed to failure. Nevertheless, he 
put the best poossible face on conditions when he 
reported to Burgoyne: 

on the 5th I learnt from discovering parties on the 
Mohawk River that A Body of one thousand Militia 
were on their March to raise the Siege. On the con- 
irmation of this News I moved a large body of Indians 

with some troops the same night to lay in ambuscade 
for them on their march — They fell into it — The 
compleatest victory was obtained. Above 400 lay dead 
on the field amongst the number of whom were almost 
all the principal Movers of Rebellion in that Country 
— There are six or seven hundred men in the Fort — The 
Militia will never rally — All that I am to apprehend 
therefore that will retard my progress in joining you, 
is a reinforcement of what they call their regular 
troops by way of Halfmoon up the MohawK River. A 
diversion therefore from your army by that quarter 
will greatly expedite my junction with either of the 
grand armies. 70 

Of course, Burgoyne was many miles north of 
Halfmoon and in no condition to send the Mohawk 
expedition assistance in any form. 

The men in the fort enjoyed a respite from 
enemy fire during most of the 7th, although "at 
1 1 o Clock this Evening the Enemy came near the 
Fort called to our Centinels, telling them to come out 
again with Fixed Bayonets and they should give us 
Satisfaction for Yesterdays work, after which they 
fired 4 small Cannon at the Fort we laughed at 
them heartily and they returned to Rest." 77 At 
midnight, the runners from Herkimer's column and 
a militianman who brought news of the fight at 
Oriskany set out for the lower valley. 

The connon fire that Colbrath reported indi- 
cated that St. Leger had finally brought up his 
artillery. More shots were fired into the fort during 
the day, and the garrison "in order to Return the 
compliment, they [the enemy] were Salluted with 
a few Balls from our Cannon." 78 

At about 5 p.m., St. Leger's adjutant. Major 
Ancrum, Colonel Butler, and a surgeon came to 
the fort under a flag. Colonel Willett's "Narrative" 
gives this dramatic example of total recall: 
The afternoon of the next day, the beating of the 
chimade and the appearance of a white flag, was 
followed by a request that Colonel Butler, who 
commanded the Indians, with two other officers, might 
enter the fort, with a message to the commanding 
officer. Permission having been granted, they were 
conducted blindfolded into the fort, and received by 
Colonel Gansevoort in his dining room. The windows 
of the room were shut and candles lighted; the table 
also was spread with crackers, cheese and wine. Three 
chairs placed at one end of the table, were occupied 
by Colonel Butler and the other two officers who had 
come with thim; at the other end, Colonel Gansevoort. 
Colonel Mellon and Colonel Willett were seated. Seats 
were also placed around the table for as many officers 
as could be accommodated, while the rest of the room 

46 Fort Stanwix 

was nearly filled with the other officers of the garrison 
indiscriminately; it heing desirable that the officers in 
general should be witness to all that might take place. 
After passing around the wine, with a few common- 
place compliments. Major Ancrum, one of the mes- 
senges, with a very grave, stiff air, and a countenance 
full of importance, spoke, in nearly the following 

"I am directed by Colonel St. Leger, the officer 
who commands the army now investing the garrison, 
to inform the commandant, that the colonel has, with 
much difficulty, prevailed on the Indians to agree, 
that if the garrison, without further resistance, shall 
be delivered up, with the public stores belonging to it, 
to the investing army, the officers and soldiers shall 
have all their baggage and private property secured to 
them. And in order that the garrison may have a 
sufficient pledge to this effect, Colonel Butler accom- 
panies me to assure them that not a hair of the head 
of anyone of them shall be hurt." (Here turning to 
Colonel Butler, he said: 

"That. I think was the expression they made use 
of, was it not? To which the colonel answered, "Yes.") 
I am likewise directed to remind the commandant 
that the defeat of General Herkimer must deprive the 
garrison of all hopes of relief, especially as General 
Burgoyne is now in Albany, so that, sooner or later. 
the fort must fall into our hands. Colonel St. Leger, 
from an earnest decision to prevent further blood- 
shed, hopes these terms will not be refused; as, 
in this case, it will be out of his power to make them 
again. It was with great difficulty the Indians con- 
sented to the present arrangement, as it would deprive 
them of the plunder which they always calculate upon 
on similar occasions. Should these, the present terms 
be rejected, it will be out of the power of the colonel 
to restrain the Indians, who are very numerous, and 
much exasperated not only from plundering the 
property but destroying the lives of. probably, the 
ere. iter part of the garrison. Indeed, the Indians are 
so exceedingly provoked, and mortified by the losses 
they have sustained, in the late actions, having had 
several of their favorite chiefs killed, that they 
threaten — and the colonel, if the present arrangement 
should not be entered into, will not be able to prevent 
them from executing their threats — to march down 
the country, and destroy the settlement with its in- 
habitants. In this case, not only men. but women and 
children, will experience the sad effects of their 
vengeance. These considerations, it is ardently hoped. 
will produce a proper effect and induce the com- 
mandant, by complying with the terms now offered. 
to save himself from further regret when it will be 
too late." 
With the approbation of Colonel Gansevoort, Colonel 

Willett made the following reply. Looking the im- 
portant major full in the face he observed: 

"Do I understand you, sir? I think that you say, 
that you come from a British colonel, who is com- 
mander of the army which invests this fort; and, by 
your uniform, you appear to be an officer in the 
British service. You have made a long speech on 
the occasion of your visit, which, stripped of all its 
superfluities, amounts to this, that you come from a 
British colonel to the commandant of this garrison, 
to tell him that if he does not deliver up this garrison 
into the hands of your colonel, he will send his Indians 
to murder our women and children. You will please 
reflect, sir. that our blood will be on your heads, not 
ours. We are doing our duty: this garrison is com- 
mitted to our charge, and we will take care of it. 
After you get out of it. you may turn round and look 
at its outside, but never expect to come again, unless 
you come a prisoner. I consider the message you have 
brought a degrading one for a British officer to send, 
and by no means reputable for a British officer to 
carry. For my part, I declare, before I would consent 
to deliver this garrison to such a murdern'g set as your 
army, by your own accounts consists of, I would suffer 
my body to be filled with splinters and set on fire, as 
you know has been practiced, by such hordes of 
women and children killers as belong to your army. 7i ' 

The deputation from the British commander 
presented a letter written by Colonel Peter Bellinger 
and Major Frey. who had been captured at Oris- 
kany, that read: 

It is with concern ne are to acquaint you that this was 
the fatal day in which the succors, which were in- 
tended for your relief, have been attacked and de- 
feated, with great loss of numbers killed, wounded and 
taken prisoners. Our regard for your safety and lives, 
and our sincere advice to you is, if you will avoid 
inevitable ruin and destruction, to surrender the fort 
you pretend to defend against a formidable body of 
troops and a good train of artillery, which we are 
witnesses of: when, at the same time, you have no 
farther supports or relief to expect. We are sorry to 
inform you that most of the principal officers are 
killed: to wit — General Herkimer, Colonels Cox, 
Seeber. Isaac Paris. Captain Graves and many others 
too tedious to mention. The British army from Canada 
being now perhaps before Albany, the possession of 
which place of course includes the conquest of the 
Mohawk River and this fort. s " 

Gansevoorl believed the letter to be a forgery 
or prepared under duress, and it had no effect upon 
his determination to defend the fort. 

History 47 

Colonel Willett's post-war account differs from 
his first reports of the conference in detail and 
mood. His first version of the event, which is con- 
tained in his important August 1 1 letter, related 

This evening [August 8] they sent us a flag, with 
which came their Adjutant-general, Capt Armstrong 
[Ancrumf Col. Butler, and a surgeon, the surgeon to 
examine Singleton's wounds; the principal business of 
the flag was to acquaint us, that Gen. St. Leger had, 
with much difficulty, prevailed on the Indians to 
agree, that if the Commanding Officer would give up 
the fort, the garrison should be secured from any kind 
of harm, that not a hair of their heads should be 
touched; but if not, the consequences to the garrison, 
should it afterwards fall into their hands, must he 
terrible; that the Indians were very much enraged, 
on account of their having a great number of their 
Chiefs killed in the late actions, and were determined, 
unless they got possession of the fort, to go down the 
Mohawk River, and fall upon its inhabitants. Our 
answer was, that should this be the case, the blood of 
their inhabitants would be upon the hands of Mr. 
Butler and his employers, not upon us, and that such 
proceedings would ever remain a stigma upon the 
name of Britain; but for our parts, we were determined 
to defend the fort. sl 

An account that appeared in August 28, 1777, 
issue of The Independent Chronicle and Universal 
Advertiser, Boston, entitled "Extract of a Letter 
from a Olficcr of Distinction," who was probably 
'Willett, read: 

Friday, — Butler and a regular officer came into the 
fort, with proposals, representing that "Burgoyne was 
in Albany, — everything was lost — and it would be in 
vain for the fort to be obstinate, the militia were 
entirely routed, — the Indians were enraged at their 
loss, and that they feared the consequences of an 
obstinate resistance, as the fort must finally fall, — they 
were determined to have it, — that they had prevailed 
on the Indians so far that if the garrison would sur- 
render immediately, they might march with their 
effects without molestation, and take themselves 
where they pleased; but otherwise they feared the 

~ol. Gannsevoort answered, that he was surprised at 
heir proposals, they implied a reflection upon the 
officers of the whole garrison — that they were not to 
">e intimidated by threats — that he was determined to 
told the fort as long as possible, and that he and his 
Vlen would die in the Trenches before he would 
urrender — at the same time took the occasion to 
emonstrate with Butler on the cruelty of their late 

practices, in scalping and murdering innocent in- 
habitants, particularly murdering the three little 
girls — Butler had little to say. 82 

The record is clear that the British made their 
proposal and that Colonel Gansevoort refused to 
entertain the idea of surrendering the fort. In fact, 
the only thing that would have persuaded him to 
do so would have been a loss of nerve. He knew 
that it was highly unlikely that Burgoyne had 
reached Albany, even if the main portion of the 
Northern Department's army had been defeated, 
which was improbable. He also knew that the 
British artillery was incapable of breaching his 
works; and he had no confidence in the British 
ability to restrain the Indians. Daniel Claus ac- 
curately summed up the reasons for the Colonel's 
refusal when he wrote: "The Rebels knowing their 
Strength in Garrison as well as Fortification and the 
Insufficiency of our Field pieces to hurt them, and 
apprehensive of being masacred by the Indians for 
the Loss they sustained in the Action [at Oriskany]. 
They rejected the Summons s[ai]d that they were 
determined to hold out to the last Extremity." 83 

Shortly after mid-night. Colonel Willett, ac- 
companied by Lieutenant Levi Stockwell, left the 
fort to go to Fort Dayton to raise a relief expedition. 
It was from there that the colonel wrote his August 
I 1 and August 13 letters. 84 

During the first day of the cease-fire following 
the conference, St. Leger sent a flag to the fort 
with a written statement of the demands presented 
on the previous day by Adjutant-general Ancrum. 
That paper read: 

Camp before Fort Stanwix, August 9, 1777. 

Agreeable to your wishes, I have the honour to give 
you on paper, the message of yesterday, though I 
cannot conceive, explicit and humane as it was, how 
it could admit of more than one construction. After 
the defeat of the reinforcement, and the fate of all 
your principal leaders, on which, naturally, you built 
your hopes; and having the strongest reason from 
verbal intelligence; and the matter contained in the 
letters that fell into my hands, and knowing thoroughly 
the situation of General Burgoyne's army, to be 
confident that you are without resource — in my fears 
and tenderness for your personal safety, from the 
hands of Indians, enraged for the loss of some of 
their principal and most favourite leaders — I called to 
council, the chiefs of all the nations, and after having 
used every method that humanity could suggest, to 
soften their minds, and lead them patiently to bear 

48 Fort Stanwix 

their own losses, by reflecting on the irretrievable 
misfortunes of their enemies, I, at last, laboured the 
point my humanity wished for; which the chiefs 
assured me of, the next morning, after a consultation 
with each nation, that evening, at their fire places — 
Their answer in its fullest extent, they insisted should 
be carried by Colonel Butler; which he has given you 
in the most categorical manner; you are well ac- 
quainted that Indians never send messages without 
accompanying them with menaces on non-compliance, 
that a civilized enemy would never think of doing: 
you may rest assured therefor, that no insult was 
meant to be offered to your situation, by the King's 
servants, in the message they peremptorily demanded 
be carried by Colonel Butler. 

I am now to repeat what has been told you by 
my Adjutant-general. 

That provided you will deliver up your garrison, 
with every thing as it stood, at the moment the first 
message was sent, your people shall be treated with 
every attention that a humane and generous enemy 
can give. 

I have the honour to be, 
Sir, Your most obedient 
humble servant 

Barry St. Leger 
Brig Gen of his Majesty's forces. 

P.S. I expect an immediate answer, as the Indians are 
extremely impatient: and if this proposal is rejected, I 
am afraid it will be attended with very fatal conse- 
quences, not only to your and your garrison, but the 
whole country down the Mohawk River — such con- 
sequences as will be very repugnant to my sentiments 
of humanity, but after this, entirely out of my power 
to prevent. 

Barry St. I cger 
Colonel Gansevoort, commanding Fort Stanwix 85 

The fort's commander replied immediately: 

Fort Schuyler, Aug 9, 1777 

Your letter of this morning's date I have received, in 
answer to which I say. that it is my determined reso- 
lution, with the forces under my command, to defend 
this fort and garrison to the last extremity, in behalf 
of the United American States, who have placed me 
here to defend it against all their enemies. 

I have the honour to be, in 
Your most ob't humble serv't 
Peter ( iansevoort 
Col. commanding Fort Schuyler 
Gen. Barry St. 1 eger 80 

Although the armistice was to have lasted for 
three days, the British began to bombard the fort 
at 10:30 p.m. and continued a "well directed fire" 
all night. The fort's papers and money were stored 
in the bomb-proof in the southwest bastion. Artil- 
lery and small arms fire were exchanged at intervals 
during the next week with very limited effect on 
the garrison and none on the fort's fabric. On the 
16th, Colbrath recorded that "the Enemy threw 
some Shells Horrisontally at our Works." ST The 
explanation of this technique is found in St. Leger's 
report to Burgoyne: 

it was found that our cannon has not the least effect 
upon the sodwork of the fort, and that our royals 
[mortars] had only the power of teasing, as a six-inch 
plank was a sufficient security for their powder- 
magazine, as we learnt from deserters. At this time 
Lieutenant Glenie of the artillery, whom I had ap- 
pointed to act as assistant engineer, proposed a con- 
version of the royals (if I may use the expression) 
into howitzers. The ingenuity and feasibility of this 
nuance striking me very forcibly, the business was set 
about immediately, and soon executed, when it was 
found that nothing prevented their operating with the 
desired effect but the distance, their chambers being 
too small to hold a sufficiency of powder. There was 
nothing now to be done but to approach the fort by 
a sap to such a distance that the ramparts might be 
brought within their portice, at the same time all 
materials were preparing to run a mine under the 
most formidable bastion. 88 

The Fleury map shows a portion of St. Leger's 
disposition of positions for the siege. The lack of a. 
scale limits its usefulness in determining distances, 
but an estimate based upon the size of the square 
formed by the fort's bastions. 335 feet to the side, 
except for eastern face, the distance between the 
original battery positions and the fort was approxi- 
mately 350 yards. The sap or approach directed 
toward the northwest bastion. v ' 

While St. Leger's men worked at the approach 
trench, the garrison and their enemies kept up the 
exchange of fire. The fort suffered little or no 
damage, although a few casualties occurred among 
its defenders. The effects of the American fire can- 
not be determined. On August 21 a woman in the 
fori who was "big with Child" was wounded in the 
thigh by the artillery fire. The next day, she 
birth to a daughter on the southwest bastion' 
bombproof, and Colbrath recorded that both an< 
mother and child "do well with the Blessing o 
God." ' The enemy diverted the stream that wa 

History 49 

the main water source, and the garrison dug wells 
within the fort. Sorties went out for a variety of 
purposes, and both sides lost men through de- 
sertion. 91 

While the siege continued, the British did not 
ignore the country that the fort defended. After 
the Battle of Oriskany, Sir John Johnson proposed 
to his commander that he be permitted to take 200 
men and "a signifficient body of Indians" down the 
valley to bring the people back to the royal cause, 
but St. Leger "said he could not spare the men, 
and disapproved of it." '■'- A few days later, Walter 
Butler took two regulars and three Indians to German 
Flats in an effort to enlist the assistance of the 
inhabitants in persuading the garrison to surrender. 
Butler carried with him a proclamation, signed by 
Sir John, Daniel Claus, and John Butler, that read: 

Camp he fore Fort Stanwix, Aug. 13 
To the Inhabitants of Tryon County 
Notwithstanding the many and great injuries we have 
received in person and property at your hands, and 
being at the head of victorious troops, we most 
ardently wish to have peace restored to this once 
happy country; to obtain which we are willing and 
desirous, upon a proper submission on your parts, to 
bury in oblivion all that is past, and hope that you are 
or will be convinced in the end, that we were your 
friends and good advisers, and not such wicked de- 
signing men as those who led you into error, and 
almost total ruin. You have, no doubt, great reason to 
dread the resentment of the Indians, on account of the 
loss they sustained in the late action, and the mulish 
obstinacy of your troops in this garrison but in them- 
selves, for which reason the Indians declare, that if 
they do not surrender the garrison without further 
opposition, they will put every soul to death, not only 
the garrison, but the whole country, without any 
regard to age, sex, or friends — for which reason, it is 
become your indespensible duty, as you must answer 
the consequences, to send a deputation of your prin- 
cipal people, to oblige them immediately, to what in a 
very little time they must be forced, the surrender of 
the garrison — in which case we will engage on the 
faith of Christians to protect you from the violence 
3f Indians. 

Surrounded as you are by victorious armies, one half 
(if not the greater part) of the inhabitants friends of 
:he government, without any resource, surely you 
:annot hesitate a moment to accept the terms pro- 
posed to you, by friends and well-wishers to the 
jountry. 93 

The garrison at Fort Dayton captured the little 
>arty, and nothing came of this ploy. 94 

While St. Leger's and Gansevoort's men con- 
tended for the Mohawk country, events elsewhere 
were taking place that were to be decisive in bring- 
ing failure to British designs. 

Gen. Philip Schuyler, whose command of the 
Northern Department placed upon him ultimate 
responsibility for the defense of the Mohawk Valley, 
was retreating southward along the Hudson before 
Burgoyne's hitherto victorious advance. He was 
struggling to retard that advance and prepare his 
main army for a stand that would halt the British 
invasion. Shortages, personality clashes, sectional 
animosities, political rivalries, and a succession of 
disheartening reverses conspired in making his task 
almost impossible. Yet he did not neglect his re- 
sponsibilities in the western part of his command. 
During July, he worked at trying to obtain addi- 
tional Continental troops for the Tryon County 
area and sought the state's assistance in finding units 
that could be sent up the Mohawk. He wrote letters 
to the Tyron County committees and General 
Herkimer that endeavored to encourage and advise 

On August 6 Schuyler's assistance took a more 
concrete form when he ordered a Continental force 
to move toward Fort Stanwix. This contingent 
was followed by others on and after August 9. The 
Continentals were Brig. Gen. Ebeneezer Learned's 
brigade of Massachusetts troops, which had been 
posted at Van Schaick's Island near the junction of 
the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers. 05 He also wrote 
to the Tryon County officials requesting that they 
cooperate with their militia. 

The main body of Schuyler's army lay at the 
vilage of Stillwater, and from that place Maj. Gen. 
Benedict Arnold departed on August 13 to direct 
the relief of Fort Stanwix. There is a well-known 
story of his assignment to the command that had its 
origins in Isaac N. Arnold's Life of Arnold and 
has been repeated by many other writers including 
Hoffman Nickerson in the classic. The Turning 
Point of the Revolution: 

On receiving at Stillwater the news, first of St. 
Leger's arrival before Stanwix, then of Herkimer's 
retreat from Oriskany, Schuyler had determined to 
relieve the fort. According to the military custom of 
the time he called a council of war in which he pro- 
posed detaching a part of his own dis-spirited forty-five 
hundred to act against St. Leger. 
The risk involved was high. Within twenty-four miles 
of them — a single day's forced march — Burgoyne lay 

50 Fort Stanwix 

at Fort Edward with seven thousand victorious troops. 
He might come down upon them. Indeed, as the 
council sat he was issuing orders to his main body to 
advance eight miles to Fort Miller, and for Fraser 
and his advanced corps to go on four miles farther to 
the mouth of the Battenhill, where they would be only 
twelve miles from Schuyler and his unhappy little 
force. Of course Schuyler's council did not yet know 
of this advance, which was intended merely to cover 
the Bennington expedition, but as they saw the situa- 
tion it is not surprising that all except Arnold opposed 
Schuyler's plan. 

On the other hand, Schuyler undoubtedly rea- 
soned from Burgoyne's delay that the army from 
Canada was having trouble with its transportation. He 
knew that to the eastward patriot forces were gathering 
which would soon either reinforce him or cut in on 
Burgoyne's left and rear. Finally, he thought it neces- 
sary to run risks on the Hudson in order to save the 
Mohawk. All along he had known the political situa- 
tion in that district to be unsatisfactory. Should a 
Tory rising spring up there to assist St. Leger, the 
example might spread and the whole political basis of 
the Revolution in the North might go. 

Schuyler's argument failed to persuade his 
officers. In his agitation he walked to and fro in the 
room, a pipe in his mouth. While doing so he heard 
some of them say, 'He means to weaken the army.' 
He well knew the New England rumors that he was 
at heart a traitor. Was it possible, he thought, that 
officers under his command believed the slander? Al- 
most as he heard their words he found that he had 
bitten his pipestem clean through. Never to the end 
of his life could he forget the bitterness of that 

Nevertheless he controlled himself quickly. Indeed 
his instant of rage helped him to make up his own 
mind. He made no further effort to persuade, but said 
that he would take upon himself the responsibility of 
the expedition. Whereupon the fiery little Arnold 
sprang up and voluntcred for the command.'"'' 

Isaac Arnold's version offers other details. 
After telling of the officers' opposition and the gen- 
eral's breaking the pipe, he wrote that Schuyler 
said: "Gentlemen: I shall take the responsibility 
upon myself; Fori Stanwix and the Mohawk Valley 
should be saved! Where is the brigadier who will 
command the relief' 7 I shall beat up for volunteers 
tomorrow." No brigadier offered his services, and 
Benedict Arnold: 

though a major general and second in command, in- 
dignant that his friend should be so wronged, instantly 
volunteered Impulsive, ever read) for deeds ol daring, 

knowing how false and cruel were the imputations 
cast upon Schuyler, he at once offered his services, 
and they were gratefully accepted. On the next morn- 
ing the drums were beaten through the camp for 
volunteers, and it was announced that Major General 
Arnold offered to lead them, and before noon 800 
men had volunteered to follow him to the rescue of 
( iansevoort. <J " 

Not a single contemporary source supports 
this story, and there are several facts that contradict 

Starting with Nickcrson't first sentence, Schuy- 
ler was not at Stillwater when he received news of 
St. Leger's arrival at Stanwix, of Herkimer's retreat 
from Oriskany, and made his decision to relieve 
the fort. He was at his home in Albany, which was 
his headquarters until he went to Stillwater on or 
about August 10. General Learned was already on 
the march toward Stanwix, and another brigadier 
was not required to command the relief. What was 
needed was a higher ranking general officer, and 
Arnold was the only major general on hand. 

The beating of the drum for volunteers simply 
did not occur. The Continentals that were com- 
mitted were moved from Van Schaick's Island, 
more than 20 miles away, from three to seven days 
before the legendary council; and Arnold's instruc- 
tions make it clear that he was to join those troops 
and take command of them — not that he was to 
take troops with him from Stillwater. In addition. 
Schuyler never refcred to the fort as Fort Stanwix 
after it was renamed in his honor. 

Schuyler's instruction to Arnold appear to 
support the part of the story that related to the 
latter's volunteering to command the relief expedi- 
tion when he wrote: "It gives me greatest satisfac- 
tion that you have offered to go and conduct the 
military operations in the Tryon county. !,s How- 
ever, the circumstances of his volunteering are not 
clear, especially in the light of a letter from Wash- 
ington to Schuyler, dated July 24. in which he pro- 
posed that Arnold, "or some other sensible spirited 
officer," be assigned to Fort Stanwix" in case any- 
thing formidable should appear in that quarter." 9S j 
The proposal was couched in terms that in a nor- 
mal military interpretation would be almost tanta- 
mount to an order. 

There is no evidence for representing Schuy- 
ler's general officers as opposed to the Mohawk 
undertaking. In fact, in one of his reports to 

History 51 

Washington, Schuyler wrote that the detailing of 
the Massachusetts regiments was done "by the 
unanimous advice of all the general officers here 
[Stillwater]." 10 ° 

Schuyler ordered Arnold to "repair thither 
[Tryon County] with all convenient speed and take 
upon you the command of all the Continental troops 
& such of the Militia as you can prevail upon to 
join your troops. Fort Schuyler is being beseiged 
you will hasten to its relief and hope that the Conti- 
nental troops now in the county of Tryon, if joined 
by some of the militia will be adequate to the 

Arnold set out immediately for Albany, where 
he met Colonel Willett, and together they hurried 
to Fort Dayton, which they reached on August 20. 
During the following day, he convened a council 
consisting of Brigadier General Learned; Colonels 
Willett; John Bailey, 2d Massachusetts; Cornelius 
Van Dycke, 1st New York; Henry Beeckman Liv- 
ingston, 4th New York; James Wesson, 9th 
Massachusetts; and Lt. Col. John Brook; 8th Mas- 
sachusetts. The official report in the Gates Papers 

The general [Arnold] informed the council that previ- 
ous to his leaving Alhany, General Schuyler had sent 
a belt and a message to the Oneidas to meet at Albany, 
and intrusted him. General Arnold, to engage as 
many of them as possible in our service, and had 
furnished him with presents for them, in consequence 
of which, he had dispatched a messenger to them, 
requesting they would meet him at German Flatts; as 
yesterday they did not arrive he has given orders for 
the army to march for Fort Schuyler this moning. 
since which a deputation from the Oneidas and 
Tuscaroras had arrived, acquainting him that the 
chiefs of both Tribes with their families would he 
here the day after tomorrow, requesting a meeting with 
us; one of the Oneidas, who had lately been at the 
enemy's encampment also informed that all the Six 
Nations, except the two tribes above mentioned, had 
joined the enemy, the whole with foreign Indians 
amounting to 1,500 by the enemy's account. The 
Oneida, who is known to be a fast friend of ours, 
says that from viewing their encampment he is fully 
:onvinced there is upwards of 1,000 Indians, and from 
'.he best authority their other forces are near 700, 
resides some Tories who have joined since their 
irrival. Colonel Willett, who lately left the fort, being 
present, is fully of opinion the above account is nearly 
rue. The general then acquainted the council that by 
he returns delivered this morning, our whole force, 
ank and file, effectives, are 933, and 13 artillerymen. 

exclusive of a few militia, the whole not exceeding 
100 on whom little dependence can be placed; at the 
same time requests the opinion of council whether it 
is prudent to march with the present force and en- 
deavour to raise the siege of Fort Schuyler, or to 
remain at this place, until reinforcements can be 
solicited from below, and more of the militia 
turned out to join us, and until the Oneidas had 
determined if they would join us, of which they give 

Resolved, That in the Opinion of this Council, 
our force is not equal to that of the enemy, and it 
would be imprudent and putting too much to the 
hazard to attempt the march to the relief of Fort 
Schuyler, until the army is reinforced; the council are 
of the opinion that an express ought immediately to be 
sent to General Gates, requesting he will immediately 
send such reinforcements to us as will enable us to 
march to the relief of the fort, with a probability of 
suceeding and that in the meantime the army remain 
at the German Flatts, at least until an answer can be 
had from General Gates, and that all possible method 
be taken to persuade the militia and Indians to join 
lis. 1 " 1 

Benedict Arnold has a reputation for auda- 
city equalled by few if any of his contemporaries, 
but he approached the relief of Fort Stanwix with 
uncharacteristic caution. While it was true that the 
evidence indicated that St. Leger's force outnum- 
bered Arnold's column, the total American 
strength, including the fort's garrison, gave them a 
force more than equal to that of their enemy. At 
the most, St. Leger's white troops numbered 700 to 
800 men, of whom approximately 300 were Ca- 
nadian militia, not the most reliable of troops. The 
Indians, who may have numbered 800 at this time, 
were of limited usefulness in a pitched battle; and 
even that number had been reduced by the fighting 
at Oriskany. Between Arnold and Gansevoort, 
the Americans had a maximum of 1,746, of whom 
all but about 100 were Continentals. 102 St. Leger 
could not maintain the siege and repel the relief 
column; and if he abandoned the siege, the garri- 
son would be free to cooperate with Arnold against 
him. The responsibilities of an independent field 
command had sobered the flamboyant general who 
so often made his superiors seem pedestrian when 
he did not have ultimate responsibility for the con- 
duct of a campaign. 

If he was not prepared to rush into battle, he 
was ready to sound aggressive, so he issued a 

52 Fort Stanwix 

By the Hon. BENEDICT ARNOLD, esq. Major- 
general and Commander in Chief of the army of the 
United States of America on the Mohawk River 
Whereas a certain Barry St. Leger a Brigadier-general 
in the services of the George of Great- 
Britain, at the head of a banditti of robbers, murderers, 
and traitors, composed of savages of America, and 
more savage Britons (among whom is noted Sir John 
Johnson, John Butler, and Daniel Claus) have lately 
appeared in the frontiers of this State, and have 
threatened ruin and destruction to all the inhabitants 
of the United States. They have also, by artifice and 
misrepresentation, induced many of the ignorant and 
unwary subjects of these States, to forfeit their 
allegiance to the same, and join with them in their 
crimes, and parties of treachery and parricide. 

Humanity to those poor deluded wretches, who 
are hastening blindfold to destruction, induces me to 
offer them, and all others concerned whether savages, 
Germans, Americans or Britons PARDON, provided 
they do, within ten days from the date hereof, come 
in and lay down their arms, use for protection, and 
swear allegiance to the United States of America. 

But if still blind to their own interest and safety, 
they obstinately persist in their wicked courses, de- 
termined to draw on themselves the first vengeance of 
Heaven, and of this exasperated country, they must 
expect no mercy from either. 

B. Arnold, M.G. 

Given under my hand, HeadQuarters, German 
Flats, 20th August, 1777. 103 

Willctt once again returned eastward to deliver 
to General Gates the council of war's resolution 
August 21 along with a request for 1.000 light 
infantry men. 104 

Without waiting for reinforcements, Arnold 
resorted to a strategm that has few parallels in 
American history and folk lore. A Loyalist plot 
had been uncovered in the vicinity of German Flats, 
and among the prisoners taken was one of the less 
prepossessing members of the numerous Schuyler 
clan, a mentally retarded fellow named Hon Yost 
Schuyler. He had lived among the Indians, who 
apparently held him in some awe because of his 
affliction. He was condemned to death for his part 
in the plot, but his brother Nickolas and their 
mother came into Arnold's camp to plead for the 
life of the unfortunate man. Nickerson's account 
of how Arnold used him is probably more accurate 
than most that have come down to us: 

Taking Hon Yost's brother as hostage for his 
good conduct. Arnold told the half-wit that his life 

would be spared if he would go to St. Leger's camp 
and frighten the Indians there by playing upon their 
emotions and especially by exaggerating the numbers 
of the relieving force. The half-wit, delighted at the 
chance of saving himself, prepared with considerable 
cunning for the attempt. In order to represent himself 
as an escaped prisoner who had been fired upon, he 
caused several bullet holes to be shot through his 
clothes. Such were the political relations of the various 
Iroquois tribes that it was possible for a friendly 
Oneida in Arnold"s camp to offer to follow Hon Yost 
and confirm his story. 

Circumstances admirably set the stage for the 
half-wit. Rumors of the coming of Arnold. 'The Heep 
Fighting Chief,' had already disturbed St. Leger's 
Indians. St. Leger on his side seems to have com- 
mitted the error of proposing that the red man should 
again take the lion's share of resisting this new effort 
at relief as they had already done against Herkimer. 
They had refused. In order to persuade them to march 
at all he had to promise that he would lead them in 
person and support them with three hundred of his 
best white troops. Even so the incident had made 
them still more suspicious of them. 

At this moment the half-wit appeared pointing 
to the holes in his clothes as proof of the story of his 
escape. When asked Arnold's numbers he looked 
upward vaguely and pointed to the leaves on the 
trees. Such a message from one so mysteriously 
stricken by the Great Spirit was enough to put the 
Indians in commotion. 

Brought before St. Leger, Hon Yost repeated his 
story with a wealth of detail. Arnold with two thousand 
men, he said, would be upon them within twenty-four 

About this time the Oneida appeared, and he 
too played his part well. On his way through the 
woods he had met certain other Indians whom he 
knew and persuaded them to follow him one by one 
in order to increase the effect of what he proposed 
to say. His message was that Arnold had no quarrel 
with St. Leger's Indians, but proposed to attack only 
the British and Tories. One by one according to their 
agreement his friends took up the talc. One went so 
far as to say that a talking bird had warned him that 
great numbers of hostile warriors were on their way. 
On top of the existing discouragement among St. 
1 eger's Indians, all this was irresistible. Oriskany bad 
taken all the fight out of them, and now they were 
determined to go. 106 

St. Leger, Sir John, and the Indian superin- 
tendents. Claus and Butler, tried to prevent their 
allies from overreacting to the tales of Arnold's 
advance. A council was convened, at which the 

History 53 

general learned that 200 Indians had already de- 
camped. The chiefs then informed him that if he 
did not retreat, they would abandon him. 106 

Just how much Hon Yost's story played in 
influencing the Indians is open to question. The 
campaign certainly had not been profitable to the 
Iroquois, and they had little stomach for either a 
prolonged siege or another battle. The appearance 
of the half-demented white man must have seemed 
very fortuitous. They now had an excellent excuse 
for doing what they wanted to: abandon the expe- 
dition. Daniel Claus put the best face possible on 
the affair when he wrote: 

The Indians finding that our besieging the Fort was of 
no Effect, our Troops but few, a Reinforcement as 
was reported of 1500 or 2000 Men with Field pieces, 
^y the way, began to be des[pi]rited & file off by 
Degrees: The Chiefs advised the Brigr to retreat [to] 
Dswego and get better Artillery from Niagara & more 
vlen and return & renew the Siege, to which the 
3rigr agreed and accordingly retreated wch, was on 
he 22 of Augt.'- 17 

Everyone knew that the siege would not be 
enewed — that the expedition was a failure. 

The British withdrawal was so precipitant that 
they left part of their equipment behind. Colbrath 
described the evacuation from the garrison's 

Vugt 22d. This Morning the Enemy bombarded very 
martly The Sergeant Major and two privates were 
/ounded. At Noon a Deserter came to us whose 
examination was that the Enemy had news in the 
1 "amp that Burgoynes Army was Entirely Routed and 
nat three Thousand men was Coming up to reinforce 
i s and further that the Enemy was retreating with 
i reat precipitation and that he with another was 
f onveying off on Lieut Anderson's Chest when he had 
I lade his Escape and that most of their Baggage was 
j one — upon which the Commanding Officer Ordered 
111 the Cannon bearing on their Works to Fire severall 
I junds each to see whether they wou'd return it which 
I artly confirmed the Report of the Deserter. Some 
k me after 4 Men came in and reported the same and 
it lat they had left part of their Baggage upon which 
it le Col. ordered 50 Men & two waggons under 
K ommand of Capt. Jansen to go to their Camps where 
t ley killed 2 Indians and took 4 Prisoners one of 
t lem was an Indian. After they had Loaded the 
I agons with what Baggage they cou'd carry they re- 
it rned but Night Coming on they cou'd not return to 
t tch what Baggage was still Left in their Camp. At 
I s ight two Men came in one of them was assisting the 

first Deserter in carrying off Lieut Anderson's chest 
the other John Yost Schuyler, who informed the 
Commanding Officer that he was taken prisoner at 
the German Flatts and confined at Fort Dayton 5 
Days That Gener'l Arnold had sent him to General 
St. Leger commander of the King Troops to inform 
him that 2000 Continental with 2 Fields Pieces and 
a great Number of Millita were on their march for 
this place to Reinforce the Garrison that he informed 
General St Leger of it and in Consequence of which 
he Ordered his Troops to strike their Tents and pack 
up, and further after he had done his Errand he hid 
himself in the woods till Night and coming acoss the 
above Men they came in together, he likewise in- 
formed us that near 17 Indians were at Fort Newport 
quite drunk upon which the Col ordered a party of 
men under the command of Major Cochran to go 
and take them who in about an Hour Returned and 
informed the Colonel he had been there but did not 
find any and that he went to Wood Creek and found 8 
New Batteaus which the Enemy had left behind While 
they were out the woman that was wounded with a 
Shell last Night was brought to Bed in our S W 
Bombproff of a Daughter She and the child are like 
to do well with the Blessing of God Our Bolckade 
Ended and the Garrison once more at Liberty to walk 
about and take the free Air we had for 21 Days been 
Deprived of At 12 o'clock this Night the Commanding 
Officer sent off 3 of his Regimen* to inform General 
Arnold of the Precipitate retreat of the Enemy A 
deserter came in who said he just left the Enemy's 
Cohorns below Wood Creek Bridge 

Augt 23d. This Morning the Col sent out a party 
under the command of Major Cochran to take them, 
who returned with three prisoners 4 Cohorns and 
some Baggage and reported there was 17 Batteaus 
lying there: another party was sent to the Enemy's N. 
Camp to bring in the rest of the Baggage left by us 
last Night containing of Ammunition camp equapage 
and entrenching Tools another party was sent to the 
Enemys S E Camp who brought in 15 Waggons a 
3-pound field piece Carriage with all its Apparities 
most of the Waggon Wheels was cut to pieces as 
were the Wheels of the Carriage Several Scouts were 
sent out to Day one of whom took a German prisoner 
who Reported that the Enemys Indians had when 
they got about 10 Miles from this Fort fallen on the 
Scattering Tories, took their Arms from & Stabb'd 
them with their own Bayonets And that for fear of 
said Indians he and 9 more German Soldiers had took 
to the woods the rest are not yet found their 
Design was not to come to the Fort as Butler and 
Johnston told them when Orders were given to Re- 
treat, that those who fell into our hands would be 
Hanged immediately Another Scout proceeded to 
Canada Creek found a Carriage for a Six pounder 

54 Fort Stanvvix 

& 3 Boxes of Cannon Shott which they brought in 
This afternoon the Honble Major General Arnold 
Arrived here with near a 1000 Men They were 
Saluted with a Discharge of powder from our Mortars 
formerly the Enemys, and all the Cannon from the 
Bastions amounting in the whole to 13 Attended with 
three cheers from the Troops on the Bastions. 107 

Colonel Gansevoort's official report to General 
Arnold confirmed Colbraths account, setting the 
time that he learned of St. Leger's withdrawal at 
3:00 p.m. 108 

The impedimenta abandoned by the retreat- 
ing army included: 

4 Royals, 4 2.5 inches diameter, 126 shells for ditto, 3 
travelling carriages damaged, 2 damaged limbers for 
ditto, 135 three-pound round shot, 20 six-pound ditto, 
72 three-pound shot flannel cartridges, 4 tin tube 
boxes, 60 tubes, 1 1 cannisters, 1 set horse-harness, 1 
set of men's ditto, 4 sponges, 3 ladles, 3 wad-boks, 28 
boxes musket balls, 2 powder-horns, 2 lanthorns, 4 
handspikes, 3 haversacks, 1 drudging-box, 2 linstocks, 
2 port-fires, 1 apron, 1 pair of good limbers, 27 oil- 
cloths, 2 pair cloathes, 1 coil-rope, a large quantity of 
junk, a quantity of woollen yarn, 17 three-pound 
boxes of cartridges damaged, 5 six-pound ditto, 2160 
good musquet cartridges, a large number of ditto 
damaged, 30 copper hoops. 101 ' 

General Arnold, at German Flats, had learned 
of the enemy's attempt to dig approach trenches 
nearer the fort; and fearful that an attack might 
carry the place, he decided to move to its relief. 
An express reached him when he had marched 
about two miles and informed him of St. Leger's 
withdrawal. He pushed about 900 men forward in 
an effort to catch up with the British rear. He 
reached the fort at 5 p.m., too late to press the pur- 
suit. The next morning, he sent 500 men to con- 
tinue the chase, but bad weather forced its 
abandonment, except for a small party that reached 
Oneida Lake in time to see the last of the British 
soldiers crossing it in boats. 110 Arnold soon hurried 
back to the Hudson with Learned's brigade and 
participated in the decisive Battles of Saratoga. 

Harry St. Leger intended to join Burgoyne on 
the Hudson and redeem the defeat he had suffered 
on the Mohawk. The distance were too great, and 
St. Leger did not get to join the main drive against 

The British plan for 1777 went awry on the 
Hudson with more dramatic and far-reaching re- 

sults than was the case on the Mohawk. As we 
have noted, Sir William Howe had proposed shift- 
ing his primary threat from New England to Phila- 
delphia. 111 The king and his ministers approved 
this change in priorities early in March, 112 and he 
moved against the American capital, leaving Sir 
Henry Clinton in New York with about 3,000 
men to defend the city and act on the lower Hud- 
son. Burgoyne's main army advanced to the north- 
ern part of the township of Stillwater, where Gates 
had blocked the road to Albany. On two days, 
September 19 and October 7, he fought two en- 
gagements, called the Battle of Saratoga, on the 
American general's terms. Failing to drive or lure 
the Americans off Bemis Heights, he retreated 
northward to the village of Saratoga (Schuyler- 
ville), where he capitulated to Gates on October 
17. The British grand design for 1777 was 
wrecked. A strategic and tactical turning point in 
the war was passed, and a family fight had become 
an international conflict. 113 

The American victory at Fort Stanwix pur- 
chased temporary security for the troubled Mo- 
hawk valley that was shattered each of the 
remaining years of the war by raids by British 
regulars and, especially, their Loyalist and Indian 
auxiliaries. Except for the regulars, the people on 
both sides were fighting for their home country; 
and the fighting was often characterized by the mu- 
tual savagery of internecine warfare. The Ameri- 
cans retaliated in 1779 with the Sullivan-Clinton 
campaign that devastated the hostile Iroquois towns 
but failed to destroy the Indians' ability to fight. 
Although the tribes suffered severely during the 
winter of 1779-80, the heaviest of the century, 
they joined their white allies for even more serious 
raids, especially Joseph Brant's and Sir John John- 
son's forays of 1780; and the northern frontier was 
a theatre for destructive but indecisive border war 
until the end of the Revolution. 114 

Fort Stanwix continued to guard the Great 
Caryying Place until the spring of 1781. During 
the fort's final years, the elements and fires worked 
havoc on its fabric and structures. A fire in April | 
1 780 destroyed the guardhouse and threatened the '• 
nearest barracks so seriously that it had to razee 
to prevent the fire's spreading. m On May 14 
1781. another fire, preceded by a rainstorm, de- 
stroyed all the barracks; and the rain did extensi\( 
damage to the fort's walls. On May 27, Wash 

History 55 

ington wrote the President of the Continental 

There has been a necessity of abandoning the post at 
Fort Schuyler and removing the Garrison and Stores 
to German Flats. The Barracks had been [during] the 
beginning of the month consumed by fire and the 
Works so exceedingly damaged by the heavy rain 
storm that they were rendered indefensible, nor could 
they be repaired in any reasonable time by the 
number of Men who can be spared as a Garrison. 116 

ing Place, as each had throughout the story of the 
white man's conquest of the frontier. 

A decade after the second Treaty of Fort 
Stanwix was signed, the State of New York erected 
a blockhouse for housing military stores on the 
parade of the fort. Still standing in 1815, it dis- 
appeared at an unknown date, and the entire fort 
was leveled by 1830. 118 The history of Fort Stan- 
had come to a close. 

The general visited the Great Carrying Place 
in 1783 and in August directed Marinus Willett, 
by then a colonel of the New York Levies and 
Militia, to build one or two blockhouses at the 
portage between the river and Wood Creek. 117 
Apparently three such structures were erected near 
the site of the colonial Fort Williams near the river 

In 1784, the United States negotiated one of 
its first Indian treaties at old Fort Stanwix. The 
settlement of western lands was one of the new 
nation's most pressing problems. Efforts to reach a 
solution produced the Ordinance of 1785, one of 
the landmarks in American legislative and land 
policy history. The Ordinance provided for the 
division of western public lands into townships and 
sections and for their sale by auction. The mini- 
Tium price was set at one dollar per acre, and the 
smallest plot to be sold at auction was one section, 
540 acres. These terms effectively barred the fron- 
:ier farmers from buying government land directly, 
because they had to attend an auction in the east 
ind because 640 acres at a dollar each exceeded 
heir needs and resources. Thus, the door was 
opened to speculators, who could purchase the 
ands and then divide them for sale at a profit and 
>n interest-bearing credit. 

While surveys mandated by the Ordinance 

vere started, Congress turned to the next step re- 

|uired to open the West — Indian removal. One of 

he chapters in that story is the Treaty of Stanwix 

if 1784, by which the Iroquois surrendered all 

laims to their old lands in return for a few cheap 

iresents. Altogether, the Indians had few reasons 

3 remember the fort with affection. Yet, there are 

;w historic sites whose story more nearly repre- 

! ent the history of the western frontier. Trade. 

! sttlements, war, diplomacy, heorism, cupidity, and 

! uffering each played a role at the Oneida Carry- 

56 Fort Stanwix 


PLA \ C • l/l e rOK'l S , t i Wrf »*Jw . ..-,. 7 V,;, V. s„l r A ... Ur,« frtlL.JL* *£&* 

. 'HiU, l».~Lm.*t ■'■■ /.'.<~A~~6 <■ ':-( ■!"*■ "t.U {..-I/-* - -V '■■" *&T?'~- 


. /rr*i I. 

SKETCH J&«ctn*{~K 



-. f, *;.-., y^ 

U J~- ■•- 

I - .U /A—,y* /- <- O £*f..l.< 

*C /mM)»M*/ r'rrl-A" '--ft j /-*-.'/ /^ 


4» y*i .'v-r .-. «* — 

. t ; 




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*!*■"< ^*&« ""*: « " *fi 1... -~«*^-V 

* * t*. ; t.f ; 


'Av fi'fi A~ 

t «- :- t **»•-»»' 

y,-4- y. 

Appendix fc "Plan of Forts at the Onoida [sic] or Great Carrying Place," British Museum, Crown Collection, no. XXX. Copy in Map 
Division, Library of Congress. 

Appendix II: "Return of His Majesty's Troops Detached from the Oneida Station — 15th 
August 1758 under the Command of Lieut Colonel Bradstreet." Abercromby Papers, 
Huntington Library. 



f "T 1 — ' _ ^~ b 





, . /.■ ..,./*„ 




. . 

. ■■*■„- 




&■-'■ ', 









History 57 

Appendix lib "PLAN of Fort Stanwix Built at Oneida Station by Provincial Troops in 1758.- British Museum, Crown Collection CXX1, 99. 
Copy in Map Division, Library of Congress. 

58 Fort Stanwix 

•mu* <t«. /i~. %_ n*4t^ 

■irn4*> dr-m ouTjttU of 

»-W A .^.y >»•>«* MMIm, \ 

?n*£*. AacA <~~* 

~* Aw "»* rt»Miy y, <jf ^« 

•«*•-, y^>~ SUJ 1 ' ^^. 

Appendix IV: "Plan of FORT STANWIX Showing what Works were done at that Post from July to December 1759. 
British Museum. Crown Collection CXXI. 101. Copy in Map Division. Library of Congress. 

History 59 




Fo RT iSt.\NWUC 

Built at iTic OmiicT*. 
S ta.ti on yj.1 — 

SoNi.r) ft*rr*cke. 

Oluer* W.«f«. 

T(nri*r M^jr*»»n«. 

.S»ot» Vi -... i » 

5 c a 1 * **• i *f * *o ©r»« 



C I- V 


Appendix V: 'PLAN of FORT STANWIX Built at the Oneida Station 1758." British Museum, Crown Collection CXX1, 100. Copy in Map 
Division, Library of Congress. 

__ f-^^Tp 


■i- t " 

Appendix Vt "A Sketch of FORT 
STANWIX, with its Buildings and Outworks 
November 19, 1764," British Museum, 
Crown Collection CXXI, 103. Copy in Map 
Division, Library of Congress. 

60 Fort Stanwix 

/' AX 01 

nlmiviuir vital inf iiiilLod nnl 

10 In- Join- 10 < mm-!.' ti ti . 
• 7*4 

I ht . t . 
CTCeflt fin m flkfi 

f/rr Hn "isjit'tfit.i, 

,/ /A w/iv:r Pfntffrm, 
■■•: r/fe 

ill noli 


Appendix VII: "PLAN of FORT STANWIX, Showing what is finished and what is to be done to compleat it." 1974. British Museum Crown 
Collection CXX1, 102. Copy in Map Division, Library of Congress. 

Appendix VIII: Francois de Fleury. 

"A Sketch of the siege of FORT 
SCHUYLER," Copied By G H. 
Bowen; Sparks Collection, Cornell 
University Library. 

*>. ? f 


* * 



History 61 

Appendix IX: "Gansevoort Map of Fort Stanwix." New York Public Library. 

62 Fort Stanwix 

Cedar Posts 




"Plan showino the Putative Layout of Fort stanwix 
in August 1777. 


Headquarter and Officers* Quarters 

B. Barracks 

C. Guard House 

D. Store-House 

E. Bombproof (Magazine) 

F. Flag Staff 

G. Parade 
H. Salients 
I. Jridge 

J. Pickets 

K. 3ridge 

1. Glacis 

K, Ditch 

0. Main Gate 

P. Gate 

Appendix X; "Plan Showing the Putative Layout of Fort Stanwix in August 1777." 


Construction and Military History Thoughts for Conducting the War 

(from John Burgoyne, State of the Expedition, Appendix No. Ill) 

When the last ships came from Quebec, a re- 
ort prevailed in Canada, said to have been founded 
pon positive evidence that the rebels had laid the 
eels of several large vessels at Skenesborough and 
iconderoga, and were resolved to exert their ut- 
lost powers, to construct a new and formidable 
eet during the winter. 

I will not, however, give credit to their exer- 
ons, in such a degree as to imagine the King's 
oops will be prevented passing Lake Champlain 
irly in the summer, but will suppose the operations 
f the army to begin at Crown Point. 

But as the present means to form effectual 
ans to lay down every possible difficulty, I will 
ippose the enemy in great force at Ticonderoga; 
ie different works there are capable of admitting 
/elve thousand men. 

I will suppose him also to occupy Lake George 

ith considerable naval strength, in order to secure 

s retreat, and afterwards to retard the campaign; 

id it is natural to expect that he will take meas- 

i es to block up the roads from Ticonderoga to 

& lbany by way of Skenesborough, by fortifying the 

I'ong ground at different places, and thereby 

) >liging the King's army to carry a weight of artil- 

e ry with it, and felling trees, breaking bridges, and 

i her obvious impediments, to delay, though it 

1 ould not have the power or spirit to finally resist 

t progress. 

The enemy thus disposed upon this side of 
^inada, it is to be considered what troops will be 
l< cessary, and what disposition of them will be 
n ">st proper to prosecute the campaign with vigor 
i d effect. 

I humbly conceive the operating army (I 
an exclusively of the troops left for the security 
f Canada) ought not to consist of less than eight 

thousnd regulars, rank and file. The artillery re- 
quired in the memorandums of General Carleton, 
a corps of watermen, two thousand Canidians, in- 
cluding hatchetmen and other workmen, and one 
thousand or more savages. 

It is to be hoped that the reinforcements and 
victuall ships may all be ready to sail from the 
Channel and from Corke on the last day of March. 
I am persuaded that to sail with a fleet of trans- 
ports earliers, is to subject government to loss and 
disappointment. It may reasonably be expected 
that they will reach Quebec before the 20th of 
May, a period in full time for the opening of the 
campaign. The roads, and the rivers and lakes, by 
the melting and running off of the snows, are in 
common years impracticable sooner. 

But as the weather long before that time will 
have admitted of labour in the docks, I will take 
for granted that the fleet of last year, as well as 
bateaux as armed vessels, will be found repaired, 
augmented and fit for immediate service. The 
magazines that remain of provision, I believe them 
not to be abundant, will probably be formed at 
Montreal, Sorel and Chamblee. 

I conceive the first business for those entrusted 
with the chief powers, should be to select and post 
the troops destined to remain in Canada; to throw 
up the military stores and provisions with all possi- 
ble dispatch, in which service the above mentioned 
troops, if for operation to cantonments, within a 
few days march of St. John's as conveniently may 
be. I should prefer cantonments at that season of 
the year to encampment, as the ground is very 
damp, and consequently very pernicious to the men, 
and more especially as they will have been for many 
months used to lodgings, heated with stoves, or 
between decks of ships; all these operations may 


64 Fort Stanwix 

be put in motion together, but they severally require 
some observation. 

I should wish that the troops left in Canada, 
supposing the number mentioned in my former 
memorandum to be approved, might be made as 

Rank and File 
The 31st regiment, British, 
exclusive of their light company 
of grenadiers 448 

Maclean's corps 300 

The 29th regiment 448 

The ten additional companies from 
Great Britain 560 

Brunswick and Hesse Hanau to be taken 
from detachments or complete corps, as 
Major General Riedesel shall recommend, 
leaving the grenadiers, light infantry 
and dragoons compleat 650 

Detachments from the other British 
brigades, leaving the grenadiers and 
lights infantry companies complete and 
squaring the battalions equally 600 


My reason for selecting the 31st regiment for 
this duty is, that when I saw it last it was not 
equally in order with other regiments for services of 

I propose the 29th regiment as it is not pres- 
ently brigaded. 

I propose Maclean's corps, because I very 
much apprehend desertion from such parts of it as 
arc composed of Americans, should they come near 
the enemy. 

In Canada, whatsoever may be their disposi- 
tion, it is not easy to effect it. 

And I propose making up the residue by de- 
tachment, because selecting the men least calculated 
to fatigue or least accustomed to it. which may be 
equally good soldiers in more confined movements 
and belter provided situations, the effective strength 
for operations is much greater and defensive 
strength not impaired. 

I must beg to leave the expeditious convey- 
ance of provisions and stores from Quebec, and the 
several depositories, in order to form ample maga- 
zines at Crown Point, as one of the most impor- 
tant operations of the campaign, because it is upon 
that which most of the rest will depend. If sailing 

\ essels up the St. Lawrence are alone to be em- 
ployed, the accident of contrary winds may delay 
them two months before they pass the rapids of 
Richelieu, and afterwards St. Peter's Lake; delays 
to that extent are not uncommon and they are 
only to be obviated by having a quantity of small 
craft in readiness to work with oars. From the 
mouth of the Sorrel to Chamblee, rowing and tack- 
ing is a sure conveyance if sufficient hands are 
found. From Chamblee to St. Therese (which is 
just above the Rapids) land-carriage must be used, 
and great authority will be requisite to supply the 
quantity necessary. 

A business as complicated, in arrangement, in 
some parts unusual in practice, and in other diffi- 
cult, can only be carried to the desired effect by 
the peremptory powers, warm zeal, and consonant 
opinion of the governor; and through the former 
are not to be doubted, a failure of the latter, vin- 
dicated, or seeming to be vindicated, by the plausi- 
ble obstructions that will not fail to be suggested 
by others, will be sufficient to crush such exertions 
as an officer of sanguine temper, entrusted with the 
future conduct of the campaign and whose personal 
interest and fame therefore consequently depend 
upon timely out-set, would lead to make. 

The assembly of the savages and Canadians 
will also depend entirely upon the governor. 

Under these considerations, it is presumed, 
that the general officer employed to proceed with 
the army will be held out of reach of any possible 
blame till he is clear of the province of Canada, 
and furnished with the proposed supplies. 

The navigation of Lake Champlain, secured 
by the superiority of our naval force, and the ar- 
rangements for forming proper magazines so estab- 
lished as to make the execution certain. I would not 
lose a day to take possession of Crown Point with 
Brigadier Fraser"s corps, a large body of savages, 
a bod) of Canadians, both for scouts and works. 
and the best of our engineers and artificers well 
supplied with entrenching tools. 

The brigade will be sufficient to prevent insult 
during the time necessary for collecting the stores, 
forming magazines, and fortifying posts; all ol 
which should be done to a certain degree, previous 
to proceeding in force to Ticonderoga; to such r 
degree I mean as may be supposed to be effecte( 
in time of transporting artillery, preparing fascines 
and other necessaries for artillery operation: am 

History 65 

y keeping the rest of the army back during that 
'eriod, the transport of provisions will be lessened, 
nd the soldiers made use of in forwarding the 

But there would only be one brigade at Crown 
'oint at that time, it does not follow that the enemy 
hould remain in a state of tranquility. Corps of 
avages, supported by detachments of light regulars, 
hould be continually on foot to keep them in 
larm, and within their works to cover the recon- 
oitering of general officers and engineers, and to 
btain the best intelligence of their strength, posi- 
on, and design. 

If due exertion is made in the preparations 
:ated above, it may be hoped that Ticonderoga 
'ill then become a more proper place for arms 
lan Crown Point. 

The next measure must depend upon those 
iken by the enemy, and upon the general plan of 
le campaign as concerted at home. If it be de- 
rmined that General Howe's whole forces should 
:t upon Hudson's River, and to the southward of 
, and the only object of the Canada army to be 
i effect a junction with that force, the immediate 
)ssession of Lake George would be of great con- 
quence, as the most expeditious and most corn- 
odious route to Albany; and should the enemy be 
force upon that lake, which is very probable, 
ery effort should be tried, by throwing savages 
id light troops around it, to oblige them to quit it 
thout waiting for naval preparation. Should these 
'orts fail, the route by South Bay and Skenes- 
irough might be attempted, but considerable 
faculties may be expected, as the narrow parts of 
e river may be easily choaked up and rendered 
passable, and at best there will be necessity for 
great deal of land carriage for the artillery, pro- 
.ions, &c. which can only be supplied from 
.nada. In case of success also by that route, and 
: enemy not removed from Lake George, it will 
necessary to leave a chain of posts, as the army 
>ceeds, for the securities of your communications, 
j ich may too weaken so small an army. 

Lest all these attempts should unavoidably 
i I, and it become indispensible to attack the enemy 
^ water upon Lake George, the army at the outset 
ji >uld be provided with carriages, implements and 
jh ificers, for conveying armed vessels from Ticon- 
oga to the lake. 
These ideas are formed upon the supposition. 

that it be the sole purpose of the Canada army to 
effect a junction with Lord Howe, or after co- 
operating so far as to get possession of Albany and 
open the communication with New-York, to re- 
main upon Hudson's River, and thereby enable 
that general to act with his whole force to the 

But should the strength of the main American 
army be such as to admit of the corps of troops 
now at Rhode Island remaining there during the 
winter, and acting separately in the spring, it may 
be highly worthy consideration, whether the most 
important purpose to which the Canada army could 
be employed, supposing it is possession of Ticon- 
deroga, would not be to gain the Connecticut 

The extent of the country from Ticonderoga 
to the inhabited country upon the river, opposite 
Charles Town, is about sixty miles, and though to 
convey artillery and provision so far by land would 
be attended with difficulties perhaps more than those 
suggested, upon a progress to Skenesborough, 
should the object appear worthy, it is hoped re- 
sources might be found; in that case it would be 
advisable to fortify with one or two strong redoubts 
the heights opposite Charles Town, and establish 
posts of savages upon the passage from Ticonder- 
oga to those heights, to preserve the communica- 
tions and at tho same time to prevent any attempt 
from the country above Charles Town, which is 
very populous, from molesting the rear or inter- 
rupting the convoys of supply, while the army 
proceeded down the Connecticut. Should the junc- 
tion between the Canada and Rhode Island armies 
be effected upon the Connecticut, it is not too 
sanguine an expectation that all the New England 
provinces will be reduced by their operations. 

To avoid breaking in upon the matter, I 
omitted in the beginning of these papers to state 
the idea of the expedition at the outset of the cam- 
paign by the Lake Ontario and Oswego to the Mo- 
hawk River, which, as a diversion to facilitate every 
proposed operation, would be highly desirable, pro- 
vided the army should be reinforced sufficiently to 
afford it. 

It may at first appear, from a view of the 
present strength of the army, that it may bear the 
sort of detachment proposed by myself last year 
for this purpose; but it is to be considered that at 
that time the utmost object of the campaign, from 

66 Fort Stanvvix 

the advanced season and unavoidable delay of 
preparation for the lakes being the reduction of 
Crown Point and Ticonderoga, unless the success 
of my expedition had opened the road to Albany, 
no greater numbers were necessary than for those 
first operations. The case of the present year dif- 
fers; because the season of the year affording a 
prospect of very extensive operation and conse- 
quently the establishment of many posts, patroles, 
&c. will become necessary. The army ought to be 
in a state of number to bear those drains, and still 

remain sufficient to attack anything that probabh 

can be opposed to it Should it appear, upon 

examination of the really effective numbers of the 
Canada army, that the force is not sufficient foi 
proceeding upon the above ideas with a fair pros- 
pect of success, the alternative remains of embark- 
ing the army at Quebec, in order to effect a junc- 
tion with General Howe by sea, or to be employee 
separately to co-operate with the main designs, b} 
such means as should be within their strength upoi 
other parts of the continent. 


The Construction and Military History of Fort Stamvix 

Chapter I 

1. Edmund B. O'Callaghan, Documents Relating to 
The Colonial History of the State of New York (10 vols., 
Albany. 1854). IV, 979, 981. 

2. Ibid.. V, 726 ft". 

3. Ibid.. VI, 858 (London Document xxxi) 

4. William Livingston, A Review of the Military 
Operations in North America (London, 1757). 42-43. 

5. John A. Schutz, William Shirley, King's Governor 
of Massachusetts (Chapel Hill. 1961), 209. 

6. Colonial Office 5/135. 

7. Schutz, William Shirley, 214-15. 

8. C. O. 5/46, 425-28. 

9. "Plan of the Forts at the Onoida [sic] or Great 
Carrying Place." British Museum, Crown Collection, no. 
xxx. Copy in Map Division, Library of Congress. 

10. O'Callaghan, Documents, X, 403-05 (Paris 
Document XII). 

11. C. O. 5/47, 97-98; "Plan of the Forts at the 
Oneida or Great Carrying Pl,ace." 

12. Ibid. 

13. Ibid. 

14. James Sullivan and A. C. Flick, eds.. William 
Johnson Papers, New York State Library (10 vols., 
Albany, 1921-1951). IX, 434. 

15. C. O. 5/46, 236. 

16. Schutz, William Shirley, 233; Francis Parkman. 
Montcalm and Wolfe (2 vols., Boston, 1931), I. 396. 

17. "Plan of the Forts at the Oneida Carrying 
Place;" Appendix 1. Parkman. Montcalm and Wolfe, I, 

Chapter II 

1. Parkman. Montcalm and Wolfe, I. 8-9; Bougan 
ville, "Journal. Summary of M. dc Beletre's Campaign." in 
O'Callaghan. Documents. X, 672. 

2. Parkman. Montcalm and Wolfe. 90-91. 

3. Ibid. 94-118; 137-70. 

4. C. O. 5/50, ltr., Abercromby to William Pitt 
July 12. 1758. 

5. "Report of Proceedings with the Confederate Na 
tions of Indians at a Conference at Canajohary;" ltr. 
Johnson to the Lords of Trade. November 13, 1763, ii 
O'Callaghan, Documents. VII. 378 ff. 

6. James Abercromby Papers, Huntington Library 
"Captain Green's Observations on Col. Montressor's Plai 
for a Post at the Oneida Carrying Place." n. d. 

7. Ibid. 

8. O'Callaghan. Documents, IV, 525-26. 

9. Abercromby Papers, ltrs.. Stanwix to Abercomby 
July 20, 1758; Abercromby to Stanwix, July 23, 1758. 

10. Ibid., ltrs., Stanwix to Abercromby, July 20 anc 
24. 1758. 

11. Ibid., ltr., Abercromby to Stanwix. 27 July, 1758 

12. Ibid., ltr.. Stanwix to Abercromby, July 20. 1758 

13. Ibid., ltr.. Stanwix to Abercromby, Aug. 20, 1758 
"Return of His Majesty's Troops Detchd from the Oneidi 
Station — 1 5th August 1758 under the Command of Lieu 
Colonel Bradstreet." Appendix II. 

14. Ibid., ltr. Stanwix to Abercromby, Aug. 20. 175$ 

15. Ibid., ltr., Stanwix to Abercromby, Sept. 5, 175? 

16. Ibid., ltr.. Stanwix to Abercromby. Sept. 7. 175f 

17. Ibid., ltr.. Stanwix to Abercromby, Sept. 7. 175f 

18. Ibid., ltr., Abercromby to Stanwix, Sept. 12, 175* 

19. Ibid., ltr., Stanwix to Abercromby. Sept. 29, 175!: 

20. Ibid.; William Johnson Papers. New York Star 
I ibrary, Albany, ltrs. Johnson to Abercromby, Sept. 3 
and Oct. 3, 1758. 

21. Abercromby Papers, ltr. Abercromby to Stanwi 
Oct. 7. 1758. 

22. Ibid. 

23. Ibid., ltr.. Abercromby to Stanwix, Oct. 13, 175 

24. Ibid. 

25. Ibid., ltr.. Stanwix to Abercromby, Oct. 22. 175, 
lb. Ibid. 

27. Ibid. ltr.. Abercromby to Stanwix. October 31 

28 En Barbette — built in such a manner that fi t 
would be directed over a parapet rather than throu r 

History 67 

29. CO. 5/50. 

30. Ibid. See plan opposite. 

31. Abercromby Papers, ltr., Stanwix to Abercromb>, 
October 22, 1758. 

32. British Museum, Crown Map Collection, CXXI, 
99. Copy in Map Division, Library of Congress. Appendix 

33. British Museum, Crown Map Collection, CXXI, 
101. Appendix IV. 

34. Ibid.. CXXXI. 100. Appendix V. 

35. Sir William Johnson Papers. 

36. Crown Collection, CXXI. 103, "A Sketch of Fort 
Stanwix, with its Buildings & Outworks, November 18th. 
1764." Appendix VI. 

37. Supra., 19. 

38. Francis Parkman's The Conspiracy of Pontiac is 
an old but beautifully written and generally useful study 
of the broad story of this rather neglected subject. 

39. Crown Map CXXI, 103. Appendix VI. 

40. Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Audit Office 
Records (M. G. 12, EI, Bundle 2531, Roll 662). 

41. See Crown Map CXXI, 102, Sections A.B. and 
CD. Appendix VII. 

42. Ibid. 

43. O'Callaghan. Documents, VII, 985, 989. 

44. British Museum. Additional Manuscripts, 21661, 
Haldimand Papers from Canadian Archives Report, 1884. 
'Correspondence of General Haldimand to General Jeffrey 
Amherst," Doc. 28605. "Journal of J.L. [John Lees] of 
Quebec Merchant." 

45. Oliver M. Dickerson, American Colonial Govcrn- 
nent 1696-1765 (New York, 1962), 22-57; Ray Allen 
Billington, Westward Expansion, A History of the Ameri- 

an Frontier (New York, 1967), 137-140; Cecil B. 
Zurrey, Road To Revolution, Benjamin Franklin in 
England, 1765-1775 (Garden City, 1968), 380, 392. 

46. Currey, op. cit., 237-240; Jack Sosin. Whitehall 
ind the Wilderness (Lincoln, 1962), 172-73; Nicholas B. 
.Vainwright, George Croghan, Wilderness Diplomat 
Chapel Hill, 1959), 260-67. 

47. O'Callaghan, Documents, I, 765, London Docu- 
nent XLIV. 

Chapter III 

1. Papers of the Continental Congress, National 
archives, ltr., Schuyler to President of Congress, June 8, 

2. Schuyler Papers, New York Public Library, ltr., 
: chuyler to Washington. June 11. 1776. 

3. Worthington C. Ford, et. al.. eds.. Journals of the 
Continental Congress (33 vols., Washinston, 1904-36), V. 

4. Schuyler Papers, Itrs, Washington to Schuyler, 
. Jne 16 and June 26, 1776. 

5. Ibid., ltr., Schuyler to Dayton. June 27, 1776; ltr., 
5 chuyler to Washington, July 2. 1776. 

6. Ibid.. Letters and Orders, Albany, June 26, 1776; 
1 r., Schuyler to Washington. July 1, 1776. 

7. Ibid.. ltr., Schuyler to Washington, July 17. 1776. 

8. O'Callaghan, Documents, VIII, 451. 

9. Schuyler Papers, Letters and Orders, Schuyler to 
I ayton, July 16, 1776. 

10. Francois de Fleury, "A Sketch of the siege of 
ORT SCHUYLER," copied by G. H. Bowen. Sparks 

Collection, Cornell University Library. Appendix XIII. 

11. Schuyler Papers, ltr., Hubbell to Schuyler, July 
25. 1776. 

12. Ibid., ltr., Schuyler to Washington, August 1, 
1776. Italics the writer's. 

13. Ibid., ltr.. Dayton to Schuyler, August 1, 1776. 

14. Gates Papers, New York Public Library, ltr., 
Schuyler to Gates, August 3, 1776. 

15. Schuyler Papers, ltr., Dayton to Schuyler, August 
30. 1776. 

16. Schuyler Papers, ltrs., Dayton to Schuyler, July 8, 
1776; August 1, 1776; Sept. 1, 1776; Schuyler to Dayton, 
August 2. 1776; Ebeneezer Elmer, Journal, New Jersey 
Historical Society. August 26-September 5, 1776. 

17. Ibid., ltr.. Dayton to Schuyler, September 14, 

18. Ibid., ltr., Dayton to Schuyler, September 17 

19. Ibid., ltrs., Henry Glen to Schuyler, July 8. 1776; 
Schuyler to Washington, Aug. 1, 1776; Glen to Schuyler. 
September 25, 1776. 

20. Ibid., ltr , Dayton to Schuyler. October 5. 1776. 

21. Ibid., Letters and Orders. Schuyler to Elmore, 
October 9 and November 12, 1776; Eberneezer Elmer, 
Journal. New Jersey Historical Society. October 17, 1776. 

22. Ibid., to Henry Glen, ADQM Genl., Dec. 21, 

23. Journals of the Continental Congress, VI, 1048. 

24. Schuyler Papers, ltr.. de Lamarquise to Schuyler. 
March 13. 1777; Letters and Orders, to de Lamarquise, 
March 18, 1777. 

25. Ibid.. Letters and Orders, To Elmore, March 
18. 1777. 

26. Ibid.. To Col. Van Schaick. March 25, 1777. 

27. William Colbrath, Journal of the most material 
occurrences preceding the Siege of Fort Schuyler (formerly 
Fort Stanwix) with an account of that siege, etc.. negative 
photostat. New York Public Library. 

28. Gates Papers., memo, Lamarquise to Gates, n.d. 

29. Ibid., ltr., Lamarquise to Gates, May 19, 1777. 

30. Ibid., ltr., Gansevoort to Gates, n.d. 

31. Journal of the Continental Congress, May 22, 

32. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book; Colbrath's 
Journal May 28, 1777. 

33. Marinus Willett, Narrative. 

34. Schuyler Papers, ltrs.. Schuyler to Gansevoort. 
June 9; Gansevoort to Schuyler. June 15. 

35. Ibid., Schuyler to Gansevoort. July 10. 1777. 

36. Gates Papers, ltr.. Lamarquise to Gates. May 
17, 1777. 

37. Ibid., memorandum, Lamarquise to Gates, n.d. 

38. Schuyler Papers, Letters and Orders. to 
Gansevoort. June 8, 1777. 

39. Ibid., ltrs.. Gansevoort to Schuyler, June 26, 
1777; Colbrath, Journal. 

40. Ibid. 

41. William L. Stone, Life of Brant (2 vols, New 
York, 1838) II, 227-8. 

42. Francois de Fleury, "A Sketch of the siege of 
FORT SCHUYLER," copied by G. H. Bowen. Sparks 
Collection, Cornell University Library; "Fleury's Map." 
Appendix VIII; Peter J. Guthorn, American Maps and 
Map Makers of The Revolution (Monmouth Beach, N. J., 
1966), 22; Gansevoort Map of Fort Stanwix, New York 
Public Library, Appendix IX. 

43. Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Transcripts 
of Colonial Records, ltr.. St. Leger to Carleton. August 
27, 1777. 

68 Fort Stanwix 

44. Plan Showing the Putative Layout of Fort 
Stanwix in August 1777, Appendix X. 

Chapter IV 

1. C. O. 51 272-74. 

2. C. O. 512812. 

3. John Fortesque. Correspondence of George III. 
6 vols, (London, 1927-28), II, 44, 56; John Fortesque, 
History of the British Army, 13 vols (London, 1899-1930), 
III. 204. 

4. Jane Clark, "1 he Command of the Canadian 
Army in 1777," Canadian Historical Review, vol. X 
(1928), 133-35; Fortesque. Correspondence of Ceorge 
III, III. 421. 427. 

5. C. O. 5/253 ff; John Burgoyne, 'Thoughts for 
Conducting the War from this Side of Canada." copy in 
Germain Papers, Wm. L. Clements Library, Ann Arbor, 
Michigan, and in John Burgoyne, A State of the Expedi- 
tion, Appendix No. III. 

6. Canadian Archieves. Ottawa, Transcript of Colonial 
Records, ltr.. Burgoyne to Germain, Jan. 1. 1777. 

7. William B. Willcox, ed.. American Rebellion: Sir 
Henry Clinton's Narrative of His Campaigns, 1775-82, 
with an Appendix of Original Documents (New Haven. 
1954), 25. n. 14. Hereafter cited as Clinton. Narrative. 

8. Piers Mackesy. The War for America, 1775-1783 
(Cambridge, Mass, 1964), 113. 

9. Sec Appendix XI for complete text. 

10. Italics added. 

11. C. O. 5/94, 201, ltr.. Howe to Germain, January 
20, 1777. 

12. E. B. DeFonblanque, Political and Military 
Episodes in in the Latter Half of the Eighteenth Century 
Derived from the Life and Correspondence of the Right 
Hon. John Burgoyne, General, Statesman, Diamatist 
(I ondon, 1876), 486-7. Italics added. 

13. Italics added. 

14. Germain Papers, William L. Clements Library, 
ltr., Germain to Carleton, March 26. 1777; "Colonel 
Clans' Account of the Battle of Oriskany and the Defeat 
of St. Leger's Expedition ... in an Original Letter to 
William Knox, British Undersecretary of State for the 
Northern Department, dated at Montreal, October 11. 
1777," New York State Library, hereinafter cited as 
Clans' Account. 

15. HolTman Nickerson, The Turning Point of the 
Rev, Nation (Cambridge. Mass.. 1928), 195. 444. N. B.: 
I he Indians joined the expedition at Oswego. 

16. Claus' Account. 

17. Ensign Spoor's party. Supra.. 76. 

18. Ibid. 

19. Ibid 

20. Public Archives of Canada. Transcripts of Colonial 
Records, ltr. John Butler to Carleton. July 28. 1777. 

21. Schuyler Papers, ltr., Schuyler to Herkimer. July. 

22. Ibid., ltr.. Schuyler to Herkimer. June 29. 1777. 

23. Ibid., ltr.. Schuylei to Gansevoort, June 30. 1777. 

24. Colbrath's Journal, May 28. 1777. 

25. Schuyler Papers, ltr.. Gansevoort to Schuyler, 
lulv 4, 1777. 

26. Ibid., ltr.. Schuyler to Herkimer. July 8. 1777. 

27. Ibid., ltr.. Schuyler to the Tryon County Com- 
mittee of Safety. July 10, 1777. 

28. [bid in Herkimei to Schuyler, lulv [5, 1777. 

19 Ibid., ltr., Schuyler to John Barclay et. al.. July 

18, 1777. 

30. Colbrath's Journal, May 19. 1777. 

31. Gansevoort Papers, New York Public Library 
ltr.. can Schaick to Gansevoort. July 22. 1777. 

32. Gansevoort Papers, ltr., Gansevoort to var 
Schaick. July 28; Colbrath's Journal. 

33. Colbrath's Journal. 

34. Ibid. 

35. Ibid. 

36. Willett's Orderly Book. August 1, 1777. 

37. Gansevoort Papers, from among the capturec 
British papers. Bird to St. Leger. 

38. Ibid., St. Leger to Bird. 

39. Colbrath, Journal. Aug. 1. 1777. 

40. Germain Papers. St. Leger to Germain. Augusl 
27. 1777. 

41. Office of the Chief of Military History. U.S 
Army. Fort McNair. D. C. ltr.. Oswald P. Backus to 
Capt. Gustave Villant. U. S. Army Historical Staff. Feb 
10. 1927. 

42. James Weise. Swartwout Chronicle (1899), 214 

43. The New Lamed History (1923). IV. 3109 

44. John Albert Scott. Fort Stanwix (Fort Schuyler, 
and Oriskany ( Rome. 1927). 175. 

45. Journal of the Continental Congress, Monday, 
June 14. 1777. 

46. James Thacher. A Military Journal During the 
Revolutionary War (Boston, 1823) 

47. Pennsylvania Evening Post (Philadelphia), Vol 
III. Number 398, 453. 

48. Milo M. Quaife, Melvin J- Weig. and Roy E. 
Appleman. The History of the United States Fla% 
(Philadelphia. 1961). 30. 

49. Colbrath. Journal. August 3. 1777. 

50. The Remembrancer: or. Impartial Repository oj 
Public Events for the Year 1777 (London. 1778). 448-49. 
ltr.. Willett to Jonathan Trumbull. Jr.. August 11, 1777; 
The Independent Chronicle and Universal Advertiser 
I Boston) August 28. 1777: "Colonel Willett's Orderly 
Book February 18th 1777 — ." New York Historical 

51. Marinas Willett. "Narrative." Tomlinson Collec- 
tion, New York Public Library. 

52. Ibid. 

53. National Archives, Revolutionary War Service 
Records, James Mc draw. 

54. Francis B. Heitman. Historical Register of Officer; 
of the Continental Army During the War of the Resolu- 
tion. April 1775-Dcc. 1783 (Wash.. D.C.. 1914), 312. 

55. Samuel E. Smith. A Revolutionary War Powder 
horn. Hobbies Vol 56. No. 3. May. 1951. 

56. Washington Papers, ltr.. Peters to Washington 
May 10. 1779. Italics added: Quaife and others, op. cit. 

57. Washington Papers, I tt. Peters to Washington 
September 1779. 

58. John Spargo, The Stars and Stripes in 1777: At' 
\ccount of the Birth of the Flag and Its First Baptism o 

Victorious Fire (Bennington. 1928). 37-47. 

59. Quaife and others, op. cit.. 50-51. 

60. Ibid. 

61. Nickerson. op. cit.. 199 200. 

62. Christopher Ward, The War of the Revoltttio 
(2 Vols., New York, 1952). II. 483. 

63. Colbrath. Journal. August 3, 1777. 

64. Ibid. 

65. Stone, op. cit.. 230-31. 

66. Claus' Account; Colbrath, Journal. August ' 

History 69 

67. Colbrath, Journal, August 5, 1777. 

68. Claus' Account; Canadian Archives, Itr., St. 
Leger to Burgoyne, August 11, 1777; ibid., Itr., Butler to 
Carleton, August 15, 1777; Colbrath, Journal, August 6, 
1777; Remembrancer, "Extract of a letter from a gentle- 
man at Quebec, dated Sept. 7," 452-3; ibid., "Extract of 
a letter from Albany, Aug. 18."; ibid, "Extract of letter 
from a gentleman in Quebec to his friend at Cork, dated 
Sept. 6, 1777." 

69. Colbrath, Journal, August 6, 1777. 

Remembrancer, "Itr., Willette to Trumbull, 
II, 1777," 448-49. 

Ibid; Colbrath, Journal, August 6, 1777; Clinton 
'Deposition of Adam Hellmer, Albany, August 




11, 1777." 

74. Ibid. 

75. Burgoyne 

76. Canadian Archives 
August 11, 1777. 

77. Colbrath. Journal, August 7, 1777. 

78. Ibid., August 8, 1777. 

79. Willett, Narrative. 

80. Gansevoort Papers, Itr., Bellinger and Frey to 

81. Remembrancer, Mil, op.cit., 450. 

82. The Independent Chronicle and Universal Ad- 

op.cit., Appendix, No. XII; Claus' 
Itr., St. Leger to Burgoyne, 

1777, Library of Congress. 
August 8, 1777; Willett, 

veriiser, Boston, August 28, 

83. Claus Account. 

84. Colbrath, Journal, 

85. Remembrancer, Mil, St. Leger to Ganservoort, 
August 9, 1777; Gansevoort Papers, 445-46. 

86. Gansevoort Papers, Gansevoort to St. Leger, 
August 9, 1777. 

87. Colbrath, Journal, August 9-16, 1777. 

88. Burgoyne, op.cit. 

89. See Appendix VIII. 

90. Colbrath, Journal, August 21 and 22. 1777. 

91. Ibid.. August 21, 22, 1777. 

92. Claus Account. 

93. Remembrancer, Mil, 451. 

94. Claus Account. 

95. Schuyler Papers, ltrs., Schuyler to Herkimer, 
August 9, 1777; Schuyler to Tryon Committee of Safety, 
August 12, 1777; Willett, Narrative. 

96. Nickerson, op.cit., 211-12. 

97. Isaac N. Arnold. Life of Arnold His Patriotism 
and Treason (Chicago, 1880), 154. 

98. Schuyler Papers, Schuyler to Arnold, Stillwater, 
August 13, 1777. 

99. Ibid.. Itr., Washington to Schuyler, July 24, 1777. 

100. Ibid., Itr., Schuyler to Washington, August 13, 

101. Gates Papers, "Report of Council of War of 
jerman Flatts, August 21, 1777." Gates has succeeded 
■ichuyler to command of the Northern Department. 

102. The size of Gansevoort's garrison is difficult to 
letermine. Two hundred men arrived with Willett, 200 
vith Badlam, 100 with Mellon. The number that ac- 
ompanied Gansevoort is unknown, but was at least 200, 
naking a total of 700. This is at odds with a return for 
irovisions for Aug. 13 for 467 soldiers, but except for 
he contingent that arrived with Gansevoort, the numbers 
>f the other elements are precisely documented. 

103. Remembrancer, Mil, 396-97. 

104. Gates Papers, Itr., Arnold to Gates, August 21. 

105. Nickerson, op.cit., 273-74. 

106. Claus Account. 

107. Colbrath, Journal, August 22-23, 1777. 

108. Gasevoort Papeis, Itr., Gansevoort to Arnold, 
August 22, 1777. 

109. Gates Papers, "A return to ammunition and 
artillery stores taken at the camp before Fort Schuyler, 
August 21st, 1777." 

1 10. Ibid., ltrs., Arnold to Gates, August 23 and 24, 


I I. 

Supra, 84. 

C. O. 5/253, 286. 

113. John F. Luzader, "The Burgoyne Campaign to 
September 19, Mil,'''' Saratoga National Historical Park, 
1958; John F. Luzader, "The Burgoyne Campaign From 
October 8-October 16, Mil" Saratoga National Historical 
Park, 1959. 

1 14. Don Higginbotham, The War of American In- 
dependence, Military Attitudes, Policies, and Practice, 
1763-1789 (New York, 1971), 328-29; Alexander Flick, 
The American Revolution in New York (Albany, 1926), 
169; See also. Division of Archives and History, University 
of the State of New York, The Sullivan-Clinton Campaign 
in 1779, Chronology and Selected Documents (Albany, 

115. Files of the Fort 
N. Y., Itr., Lt. Col. Cornelius 
Van Schaick. April 17, 1780. 

116. Washington Papers, 
dent of the Congress, May 27, 


Stanwix Museum, 
Van Dyke to Col. 


Itr., Washington to Presi- 

Ibid., Itr.. Washington to Willett, August 4, 1783. 
Oiville Carroll, Historic Structure Report, 

Architectural Data Section, Fort Stanwix, (Denver Service 
Center, National Park Service, 1973), 16-7. 


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Campaign in 1779, Chronology and Selected 

Documents (Albany, 1929). 
Wainwright, Nicholas B., George Croghan, Wilderness 

Diplomat (Chapel Hill, 1959). 
Ward, Christopher, The War of the Revolution (2 

vols., New York, 1952). 


Arnold, Isaac N., Life of Benedict Arnold, His 
Patriotism and Treason (Chicago, 1880). 

Billington, Ray Allen, Westward Expansion, A History 
of the American Frontier (New York, 1967). 

Burgoync, The State of the Expedition (London, 

Currey, Cecil B., Road to Revolution, Benjamin 
Franklin in England, 1765-1775 (Garden City, 

De Fonblanque, E. B., Political and Military Episodes 
in the latter Half of the Eighteenth Century 
Derived from the Life and Correspondence of the 
Right Hon. John Burgoyne, General, Statesman, 
Dramatist (London, 1876). 

Flick, Alexander, The American Revolution in New 
York (Albany, 1926). 

Higginbotham, Don, The War of American Inde- 
pendence, Military Attitudes, Policies, and 
Practices, 1763-1789 (New York, 1971). 

Oickerson, Oliver M., American Colonial Govern- 
ment, 1696-1765 (New York, 1962). 

"ortesque, John W., History of the British Army (13 

vols., London, 1899-1930). 
Jiithorn, Jeter J., American Maps and Map Makers 

of the Revolution (Monmouth Beach, 1966). 
.ivingston, William, A Review of the Military Opera- 
tions in North America (London, 1757). 
4ackesy, Piers, The War for America, 1775-1783 
(Cambridge, 1964). 


Clark, James, "The Command of the Canadian Army 
in Mil," Canadian Historical Review, vol. X 

The Independent Chronicle and Universal Advertiser 
(Boston, August 28, 1777). 

The Remembrancer; or Impartial Repository of Public 
Events For the Year 1777 (London, 1778). 

National Park Service Studies 

Luzader, John F., "The Burgoyne Campaign to Sep- 
tember 19, 1777," Saratoga National Historical 
Park, 1958. 

Luzader, John F., "The Burgoyne Campaign From 
October 8-October 16, 1777," Saratoga National 
Historical Park, 1959. 





Louis Torres 

Preface 74 
Introduction 75 
I Provisions 77 
II Arms and Accouterments 82 

III Clothing 86 

IV Indian Supplies 89 
V Livestock 90 

VI Hardware, Utensils, Furniture, and Accessories 91 
VII The Furnished Areas 94 

A. Parade Ground and Bastions 94 

B. Bombproofs 99 

C. Guardhouse 102 

D. Headquarters 102 

E. East Barracks 104 

F. Casemates 107 
Illustrations 109 

Revolutionary War Fireplace 109 

Fireplace in Reconstructed Military Hut 109 
Appendix: The "Stars and Stripes" at Fort Stanwix. A Summary of the Evidence 110 
Notes 1 1 4 
Bibliography 119 



This furnishing study is the last of several 
studies undertaken in order to reconstruct Fort 
Stanwix. Its illustrious predecessors consist of "The 
Construction and Military History of Fort Stanwix" 
(1969), by John F. Luzader; Historic Structure 
Report: Fort Stanwix, Architectural Data Section 
(1973) by Orville W. Carroll; and "Casemates and 
Cannonballs: Archeological Investigations at Fort 
Stanwix, 1758-1781" (1973), NPS typescript by 
Lee Hanson and Dick Ping Hsu. 

The scope of this study focuses upon the siege 
and repulse of Barry St. Lcgcr's British forces in 
August 1777, the major theme of the interpretive 
program. In addition, its attention focuses pri- 
marily on those areas of the fort scheduled by the 
interpretative prospectus for complete or partial 
furnishing. These areas consist of the parade 
ground, bastions, southwest and northwest bomb- 
proofs, bakehouse, guardhouse, headquarters, cast 
barracks, and north, southeast, and west casemates. 

This study is limited by a dearth of sources 
containing data on furnishings directly associated 
with Fort Stanwix. Where this scarcity has oc- 
curred, I have sought those sources that contain 
data on furnishings of other mlitiary posts of the 
period, particularly those in New York State. 
These sources proved of inestimable value. Archeo- 
logical studies of Fort Stanwix and of other mili- 
tary posts of the period also proved to be valuable, 
although the basis for conclusions for a study of 
this nature must ultimately rest with the historical 
record. Obviously, because this study relys on much 
documentation not directly associated with the fort. 
many conclusions must necessarily be conjectural. 

In preparing this study. I have first sought to 
identify furnishings that did. or might have, be- 
longed to Fort Stanwix during the siege. These are 

treated in Chapters I through VI. In Chapter VII, 
I have brought all these furnishings together in an 
attempt to describe the appearance of those areas 
scheduled to be furnished. 

For the sake of continuity and to avoid any 
confusion in the text, I have retained the name of 
Fort Stanwix throughout, even when sources have 
referred to the alternate name of Fort Schuyler. 

My thanks go to many persons who have 
helped to make this study possible, but I wish 
especially to express my appreciation to Messrs. 
Luzader, Carroll, Hanson, and Hsu. Their knowl- 
edge, background, and long association with Fort 
Stanwix have produced scholarly studies and re- 
search without which the author would have been 
at a serious disadvantage. I would also like to 
thank the staffs of the following organizations for 
the assistance they gave me in seeking out possible 
sources: the New York Public Library, the New- 
York Historical Society, the New York State Li- 
brary, the William L. Clements Library of the 
University of Michigan, the American Antiquarian 
Society, the Sterling Memorial Library of Yale 
University, the New Haven Colony Historical So- 
ciety, the National Archives, the Connecticut His- 
torical Society, the United States Military Academy, 
and the Queens Borough Public Library in Ja- 
maica, New York. Finally, a word of thanks goet 
to the main individuals, too numerous to mention 
here, who were so kind as to answer my mam 

Louis Torre 



Fort Stanwix is known in history for its dra- 
matic role during the British siege of August 1777. 
In defeating the designs of Barry St. Leger, it was 
able to contribute to the defeat of General Bur- 
goyne, leading to new developments in the Revo- 
lution. Nevertheless, its significance cannot be 
fully appreciated without first realizing the strategic 
position it commanded on the frontier — first as a 
British post and later as an American possession. 
Located in central New York State, in an area 
:ommonly known as the Oneida Carrying Place, it 
oecame the connecting link between the several 
western posts on the Great Lakes and those posts 
on Lake Champlain and the Hudson River. Gen. 
Thomas Gage appreciated its strategic importance 
vhen he noted that, because of Fort Stanwix, the 
4ohawk River and all points eastward as far as 
>chenectady were well secured against any attempt 
>y the French. In regard to the role it would play 
n supporting communications westward. Gage 
toted that the fort would give "assistance to every 
erson going with stores [and] refreshments to the 
: everal posts ... to Niagara." 7 

After the French and Indian War had ended 

; nd after fears of French incursions had subsided, 

lere was no longer any need for a fully garrisoned 

)rt. In recommending that Fort Stanwix be de- 

jl lilitarized. General Gage argued that the fort had 

pased to serve its oricinal purpose. He said that: 


1 he use of Fort Stanwix was, that being Situated upon 

a Carrying Place, the Garrison assisted in the Trans- 

I station of the Boats and Stores: but as the Stores 

|f' rmerly demanded are now greatly reduced I am of 

>inion that the Service can be carried on in the 

1 anner proposed, without being at the Expence of 
5 ipporting a Fort, and Maintaining a Garrison at so 
# eat a Distance. 2 

Soon after the outbreak of the Revolution, the 
fort's strategic importance was again realized. With 
the failure of the American campaign in Canada 
in 1776, Fort Stanwix along with all those posts 
on Lake Champlain and the Hudson River began 
to attract attention. Encouraged by their success in 
Canada, the British would almost certainly begin 
a drive southward to cut off the New England colo- 
nies. Gen. Philip Schuyler, who commanded the 
Northern Department, saw the possible conse- 
quences of an enemy drive eastward along the 
Mohawk Valley and the need to retain the loyalty 
of the Oneidas, the only family of the Six Nations 
of the Iroquois to remain neutral. Prompted by the 
fears of the inhabitants of Tryon County, he or- 
dered the reopening of Fort Stanwix. 3 

During the Revolution, Fort Stanwix remained 
a frontier fort isolated from Albany and Schenec- 
tady, from which it received its direction and major 
supplies, by more than 90 miles. It found itself in 
the midst of Tories and unfriendly Iroquois. Be- 
cause of this isolation it suffered more than its 
share of desertions. 4 In 1776 the post commander 
complained that he was "not able to get any publick 
intelligence, unless I make Particular application 
for it at some place more publick." To remedy 
the situation, he appointed a post rider to ride be- 
tween Fort Stanwix and Albany once a week. His 
appeal for intelligence of any kind was almost 
desperate. 5 

General Schuyler was convinced that the 
enemy would one day make its strength felt by 
way of the Mohawk Valley, and he resisted any 
attempt to weaken that part of th; country. He 
objected strenuously to a request from Gen. Horatio 
Gates to transfer troops from Fort Stanwix to the 
Champlain region. "I cannot think," he said, "of 


76 Fort Stanwix 

moving Colonel Dayton's Corps from Fort Stan- 
wix. If I had any troops to spare I would strengthen 
that Quarter as all my Intelligence agrees that some 
Blow is Meditated." ,; 

Schuyler worked feverishly to strengthen the 
fort with much-needed supplies. Unfortunately, 
the results were not always equal to the effort. 
Although Col. Peter Gansevoort, Jr., Commander 
of the 3 New York Regiment, found it "extremely 
pleasant and agreeable" when he first arrived, he 
soon showed his annoyance at the lack of progress 
being made to strengthen the fort. He complained 
that construction was moving very slowly. Only 
two months before the siege, he noted with some 
disgust that "Nothing of any importance [had] yet 
been done toward the Strengthening [of] the Forti- 
fications which at present has little more than the 
name of a Fortification." 7 

By the time the siege got underway, the fort 
was still largely unprepared. While the garrison 
expanded to an approximate strength of 700 on 
the eve of the siege, the same could not be said 
for the heavy guns that were promised. Although 
ordnance supplies were being shipped daily to Fort 
Stanwix, Schuyler was finally compelled to admit 
to Washington that the garrison was weak and 
poorly supplied with cannon. 8 Meanwhile, the siege 
had come and gone, but the fort remained without 
adequate facilities and supplies. 

In the final analysis, the British were largely 
to blame for their unsuccessful attempt against Fort 
Stanwix. Although they outnumbered the garrison, 
they had underestimated their task; by not bringing 
guns of a larger caliber with them, they missed an 
excellent opportunity. The problems they faced 
with a restless and uncertain ally in the Indian was 
another factor contributing to their defeat. 

Although the records are silent. Fort Stanwix 
must have presented a chaotic scene during the 
siege. Sleeping quarters were inadequate to house 
the normal complement of 400 men. These facili- 
ties had been planned but never completed. On 
top of this, the garrison suddenly expanded to 
about 700 men just before the siege. Although 
supplies of all kinds were arriving daily, there 
were many shortages, from clothing and eating 
utensils to big guns. Faced with a shortage of nor- 
mal day-to-day supplies, the men were forced to 
improvise, borrow, and share. They slept on floors 
and possibly in tents with little bedding and a mini- 

mum of comfort, sharing their cooking and eating 
utensils and wearing tattered clothes. Fortunately 
it was summer, but the cool nights of that region 
must have produced considerable discomfort. 

Inadequate facilities and lack of supplies must 
have seemed intolerable at times, but they were not 
the only problems. The garrison during the siege 
was made up of Yorkers and Yankees, as well as 
continentals and militia. Such a combination must 
have produced more than the normal amount of 
factionalism and jealousies. Mistrust of the Tryon 
County militia (whose members, after all, did come 
from an area where loyalties were divided) was 
inevitable, and must have added fuel to the fire. 

The siege went on for 22 days under these 
conditions. In the final analysis, the fact that the 
siege was finally raised with the loss of so few men 
must be credited to the bravery, courage, and in- 
genuity of the garrison. 


Providing food and supplies for the garrison 
at Fort Stanwix proved to be a job of considerable 
magnitude, frequently exhausting the patience of 
those who commanded the fort. All the logistical 
problems faced by Fort Stanwix were common to 
any frontier fort. The fort was separated from 
Albany and Schenectady by more than 90 miles 
of heavily wooded areas. In the spring, summer, 
and fall, provisions were loaded onto bateaux, which 
sailed westward on the Mohawk River. In the 
winter, when the river was not navigable, supplies 
were shipped on wagons and sleighs over inland 
routes that often proved treacherous. Even when 
the elements were conquered, supplies en route 
faced the uncertainties of the Tories and their allies, 
I the Iroquois, who thrived in large numbers, par- 
ticularly in Tryon County. 

Nor was the enemy the worst offender; the 
men hired to operate the bateaux frequently proved 
to be untrustworthy, and often stole the supplies. 
General Schuyler decried these practices in the 
most vehement language, and when these thieves 
were caught redhanded, punishment was severely 
meted out. 

When the provisions finally did arrive, the 
garrison had to contend with other problems. Often 
food would either arrive spoiled or would spoil 
shortly after its arrival, especially if packaging or 
storage facilities were inadequate. The quantity 
}f food and supplies available at the fort was fre- 
quently insufficient because it was affected by the 
luctuating number of men at the fort. Despite 
lieneral Schuyler's attempts to make sure that sup- 
)lics followed new assignments to the garrison, the 
omplicated supply line made this difficult. Then 
here was the extensive pilfering at the fort itself. 
)ne member of the garrison noted that men fre- 
quently broke into the stores and stole provisions. 1 

The inconsistency of the supply system often 
led to an imbalance in the diet of the soldier. As 
early as 1759, complaints were heard from Fort 
Stanwix that the "Scurvy begins to make its Ap- 
pearance upon some .. . men, who have now been 
reduced some time to pork and Flower [sic]." - 

The food supplies consumed at Fort Stanwix 
consisted largely of salted pork and beef. At times 
when cattle were abundant, in an effort to avoid the 
ill-effects of too much salted meat, fresh beef was 
issued. Thus, in July 1776, while he was command- 
ing the Northern Department, General Gates or- 
dered his commissary to issue a 4-day ration of 
fresh meat and a 3-day ration oi salted meat. As 
the number of cattle increased, the commissary 
was directed to issue a 5-day ration of fresh meat 
and a 2-day ration of salted meat a week. 3 

Most important among the foods eaten at Fort 
Stanwix were beef, pork, bread, flour, oatmeal, rice, 
peas, butter, and salt. Of lesser importance were 
cheese, bacon, suet, fish, raisins, and molasses. 
Occasionally, different kinds of vegetables were 
shipped to the fort, such as potatoes, parsnips, car- 
rots, turnips, cabbage, and onions, but these were 
intended mainly for the sick. Vegetable seeds were 
also sent to the fort to encourage soldiers to plant 
their own gardens, and, as a result, several gardens 
flourished outside the fort. Beverages usually seen 
at Fort Stanwix consisted of beer, cider, rum, and 
wine. Rum was a significant part of the soldier's 
ration, particularly while he was on fatigue duty. 

With spring approaching in 1777, it became 
more apparent that the enemy would strike from 
the west through Fort Stanwix. The garrison 
worked feverishly to make the fort defensible. In 
the meantime, Schuyler had reported as early as 
August 1776 to Washington that almost 80 days 
worth of pork and flour were in store for the garri- 


78 Fort Stanwix 

son. Moreover, a considerable quantity of flour 
was also being shipped from Schenectady, and be- 
cause the garrison had 23 head of beef cattle, 
Schuyler believed it would have a constant supply 
of fresh meat on hand. "I am under no apprehen- 
sions," he concluded with some optimism, "that the 
garrison will be under any Difficulty in the article of 
provision." * 

In spite of these words of optimism and the 
effort made to supply the garrison with provisions, 
the desired goal was never reached. In fairness to 
Schuyler, however, it should be noted that at the 
time he made his statement the garrison numbered 
no more than 400 men, whereas the garrison con- 
tinued to grow until mid- 1777, when it reached 
almost 700. By June 1777 Schuyler had changed 
his tune, and he was now complaining that the 
quantity of provisions at Fort Stanwix was "very in- 
adequate." He directed his subordinates to take 
the proper measures without further delay to con- 
vey to the fort whatever was needed. 5 Colonel Gan- 
sevoort, meanwhile, noted on the eve of the siege 
that although his garrison was small, it was too 
large for the amount of provisions in store. ,; 

Salt provisions, such as salt beef and salt pork, 
were especially needed, and condemning more than 
20,000 pounds of spoiled salt meat at Fort Stanwix 
did not help matters any. Nevertheless, every effort 
was being made to supply the fort. On July 10, 
1777, John Lansing, aid to Schuyler, wrote to the 
commissary of the Northern Department that "The 
General wishes you to take the most effectual 
Measures to throw into Fort [Stanwix] as much 
provisions as will compleat what is now at that post 
to a Sufficiency for four hundred men for two 
months." At the same time Schuyler reassured 
Gansevoort that he would give him all the assistance 
in his power. 7 

At the beginning of the siege, the commissary 
stores at Fort Stanwix consisted of 500 barrels of 
Hour. 60 barrels of salted provisions, a quantity of 
peas, and 20 head of cattle. In addition. Colonel 
Gansevoort had procured 50 head of cattle from 
the inhabitants around the fort. s 

Salted meat was always at a premium, and 
frequently reliance was placed upon livestock, 
which was not always plentiful. 1 ' One month after 
the siege. I.t. Col. Marinus Willett, second in com- 
mand of the garrison, complained about the dismal 
situation due to the garrison's lack of provisions. 

The garrison, he said, had only an 8-day supply of 
salted pork. He had employed every possible 
method in his power to supply the garrison with 
provisions, but without effect. 10 Although the prob- 
lem had somewhat ameliorated with the promise 
of a shipment of 40 head of cattle and a quantity of 
salt, 11 months later Colonel Gansevoort was com- 
plaining that ever 

since my Command at this place since the 6th Day of 
May last I have been only Supply'd from hand to 
mouth and during the Siege [sic] obliged to kill Milch 
Cows Hoggs [sic] etc & which I had retained in the 
Fort Ditch being the property of the late Inhabitants 
of this place when the Enemy opened the Seige [sic]: 
from whence this neglect proceeds I cannot tell. 12 

A return of the provisions at Fort Stanwix in 
May 1778, only eight months after the siege, noted 
that the commissary stores consisted of the follow- 
ing items: 13 

106 barrels of beef 

160 " 

' pork 

470 " 

" flour 


" salt 


' soap 

5 boxes 

>» )) 


" candles 

5 hogsheads 


16 bushels 


4V2 tierces 


13 fat cattle 

A return of provisions made 7 weeks later by 
John Hansen, commissary at Fort Stanwix, noted 
the following items on hand: 

5 barrels of beef 

128 " " pork 

433 " " flour 

2 " " salt 

24 boxes " soap 

7 boxes of candles 

7 " " rice 

an unknown quantity of peas 

" fat cattlt 
30 gallons hogsheads of rum 
% hogshead of brand} 
% " rum for the 

Indian Department ' ' 

One may conclude from these two returns th; t 
the items were more or less the same as those th; t 

Historic Furnishing 79 

were probably on hand at the time of the siege. 
The quantity of some of these items might have 
been larger during the siege, since at that time there 
were about 700 people in the fort, whereas by May 
1778 the number had been reduced to 45 1. 15 

To appreciate fully in what quantities provi- 
sions were consumed at Fort Stanwix, a brief word 
should be said about rationing. It was evident that 
those soldiers on heavy duty were entitled to more 
of the commissary stores. In 1780 garrison orders 

The several Issuing Commissaries at this post and its 
Dependencies, are to Issue provisions as follows Viz, 
to Artificers waggoners, Colleirs [sic], Boatmen, wood 
Cutters, on Constant hard Duty 24 oz of Bread or 
flower [sic], 24 ditto of Beef or 18 oz of pork or fish, 
one Jill of Rum [per] Day if it be had, Eight lb of 
Soape [perl hundred men, [per] Week one Quart of 
salt to Every hundred lb of Beef. 

To the troops one lb of Bread or flour and one lb of 
Beef Soape salt and Candles as usual, one Jill of Rum 
to men on fatigue When to be had. 

When there is Vegitables in store, the Rations of flour 
is to be Reduced on Quarter of a lb and for every 
hundred Weight of flour so Reduced, two and half 
iBushells of peas or two and half ditto Beans or Eight 
ditto potatoes or twelve ditto Turnips, are to be issued 
in proportion for a Greater or Less Quantity. 

If at any times the Commissaries are Destitute of flour 
at such times a half lb Beef is to be Added to the 
Ration of meat aggreable to the Orders of the 2nd 

Rum was a major part of the provisions at 
Fort Stanwix. As early as 1759 the importance of 
rum was clearly recognized when General Gage, 
;peaking of bringing supplies through Wood Creek 
n November, complained that the garrison at Fort 
>tanwix "will not be well pleased to have their 
nen up to the middle in Water at that season of the 
'ear & not a drop of rum to give them [and] I fear 
he King's Troops will suffer greatly from such 
iervice." 1T In 1777, at the height of construction, 
^olonel Gansevoort appealed to General Gates to 
lave a "quantity of Rum . . . sent up immediately 
s our fatigue [details] have already been 7 Days 
with what little is left." 18 Three days later he 
! igned an order for the purchase of 25 gills of rum 
1 )r fatigue parties under the engineer's supervi- 
i, on. 1 ' 1 In 1776 and 1777, men on fatigue duty — 
i inch of which consisted of cutting down trees and 

clearing the forest surrounding the fort — wagoners 
bringing up supplies, and artificers working on the 
fort were always first to get whatever rum was 

The quantity of rum issued to each man de- 
pended upon whether they were on fatigue duty, 
construction work, or some lighter detail. More- 
over, the quantity issued to each man varied from 
time to time depending upon the quantity of rum 
on hand. Reflecting the shortage of rum, in August 
1776 General Schuyler directed the commander of 
Fort Stanwix to distribute rum "at such times [and] 
in such portions as you may think proper to Fa- 
tigue men," but cautioned that it should not exceed 
one gill a day "unless upon very Extraordinary oc- 
casions." -° In October 1777 the commissary was 
ordered to deliver a half gill of rum to each man 
before he went on fatigue duty and another after 
such duty. In Feberuary 1778 fatigue men engaged 
in cutting two cords of wood a day were permitted 
to have a half pint of rum a day. 21 

Although commissary provisions represented 
the major par; of a soldier's rations at Fort Stan- 
wix. they were not by any means the sole source of 
his nourishment. Sutlers who made their way to 
the fort and farmers living in the neighborhood of 
the fort sold their vegetables, alcoholic beverages, 
and wares to the commissary and to the soldiers 
directly. Receipts signed by Colonel Gansevoort 
on December 13, 1777, and March 7, 1778, reveal 
that he purchased peas, oats, and other grain for 
the use of his garrison.-- In addition to these items, 
cider, turnips, potatoes, cabbage, apples, sugar, 
fowl, geese, turkeys, butter, cheese, onions, and 
tobacco were also purchased from sutlers and 

Because abuses in the sale of these items were 
flagrant, Colonel Gansevoort felt constrained to 
convene a "Court of Regulations" to fix prices on 
all items brought to the garrison for sale. Hence- 
forth, no farmer, officer, soldier, or anyone else 
would be permitted to sell his articles at a price 
higher than that set by the court. 23 

An item that never appeared in the commis- 
sary stores, but which was sought by some men of 
the garrison, was milk. The milk was sold to the 
soldiers by farmers and even by the inhabitants of 
the fort who owned cows. Even in this instance 
there was price gouging, and the commandant of 
the fort was forced to issue a warning to these per- 

SO Fort Stanwix 

sons. He reminded them that since "they receive 
their Feed from the Publick," 6 pence a quart was 
the highest price they could receive for milk. If 
any person violated this rule, his cows were to be 
expropriated for the use of the sick at the hospital. -■' 

There was a variety of items that were either 
purchased from sutlers or received directly from 
home which retlected the personal preferences of 
the soldier. In this respect, officers, many of whom 
were from the upper class of society and financially 
able, had a greater selection of provisions to choose 
from. So good was this source of supply to Colonel 
Ganscvoort that in June 1777. while he was com- 
plaining of serious shortages of commissary pro- 
visions for his men, he wrote to his future wife: 
"I must inform you that I have Exceeding [sic] 
good living here [with] plenty of Veal Pigions and 
Fish of Different Sorts." '-'•"' There is little doubt 
that these delicacies were purchased by Colonel 
Gansevoort through local sources. Another time 
Gansevoort upbraided his brother for not sending 
him some lemons when he had asked for them.- r ' 

While rum was usually a part of the commis- 
sary stores and the most common alcoholic bever- 
age of the enlisted man, wine, brandy, and other 
fine spirits were usually the drinks of the privileged 
officer. General Schuyler, a wealthy aristocrat, was 
careful to specify imported brandy when he ordered 
five kegs for himself and "a Gallon or two for Mrs. 
Schuyler at Saratoga." -" 

Another means of obtaining provisions, other 
than through the commissary, was by growing a 
garden. Gardens were encouraged at all times by 
providing the commissary at the fort with bushels 
of garden seed. At times the commissary ran low 
on seed, but when this happened individuals were 
able to acquire it by other means. JS Before the 
siege took place, guards were posted at the gardens 
to prevent anyone from stealing the crops.-' 1 ' Dur- 
ing the siege, potatoes were growing in the garden/" 1 

Medicines also comprised part of the provi- 
sions at Fort Stanwix. A fairly large hospital ex- 
isted outside the fort, 31 but once the si -ge gol 
underway, this facility was no longer practical. 
Although some of the sick were confined to their 
quarters, the more serious eases, as well as the 
wounded, were sent to the southwest bombproof 
where a hospital had been set up. 

Although it is difficult to give a precise de- 
scription of the medicines that were employed at 

Fort Stanwix, there is a very interesting document, 
albeit illegible, prepared several months before the 
siege, which provides a good picture of what the 
situation probably was like. This document is 
significant not only because it gives us some idea 
of the medicines used, but also because it indicates 
the serious shortage of medicines that existed. A 
doctor who was at Fort Dayton in the German 
Flatts as part of a detachment from Fort Stanwix 
(and who later was stationed at Fort Stanwix) 
had requested medicines for one of his patients 
from Dr. Lewis F. Dunham, the surgeon at Fort 
Stanwix. Dr. Dunham was somewhat reluctant to 
part with them, but sent them nevertheless with the 
following advice: 

By the Bearer you have Such Medicines as you men- 
tioned, though 1 assure you I know not how to part 
with them being half of the kind I have with me and 
know not where to get any more this side of New 
York. For Mr. Giffords [billious] complaints I send 
you a few Pills Composed of [aloes] Soap [gum 
ammonia] & Squills three of which [are] to be taken 
night & morning Drastic carthart [sic] : [composed] of 
Aloes Soap and Calomel [is] to be taken as often as 
you may think necessary without paying any Respect 
to the Pills. Horse Radish [sic] [is] very essential with 
his Diet. . . . My Respect to Mr. Gifford and hope 
the Medicines may prove a Balsam to his Complaints. 
a Sweet Cordial to my Desires. . . . 

If any Bayherry hark Could be procured with you & 
[kept] in Cyder [sic] or mild Vinegar a TeaCup full of 
[which] now and then might be of the utmost Service 
to Mr. Gilford. :! - 

Just before the siege. Fort Stanwix received a 
supply of medicines. In June 1777 Colonel Ganse-j 
voort's brother Leonard, who was then in Albany, 
wrote to the Colonel that a Doctor Williams was 
headed for the fort with medicines and hospital 
supplies. x; Despite this heartening news and a later 
shipment, medicines continued to be at such a 
premium that only the most serious cases would 
get to use them. :| 

There are several references in documents 
pertaining to other posts in the Northern Depart- 
ment which also describe medicines and related 
hospital supplies. There is no doubt that these 
medicines were also used at Fort Stanwix at one 
time or another. At Fort Ticonderoga, the doctoi 
ordered chocolate and sugar for the sick in the hos- 
pital, and one-half the beef or other meat that ; 
soldier normally drew. He also ordered the com 

Historic Furnishing 81 

missary to purchase sheep for the sick. At the 
general hospital in Albany, an inventory of the 
stores, revealed, among other things, a gallon of 
rum, a gallon of wine, a gallon of molasses, choco- 
late, corn, and turnips. 35 

As in all logistical operations involving long 
supply lines, containers and packages in which food 
was stored played a major role. Numerous refer- 
ences to different types of containers are made in 
the manuscripts of this period. Barrels, bushels, 
boxes, bags, and hogsheads, and to a lesser degree, 
casks, tierces, firkins, and puncheons, were all con- 
tainers in which provisions were shipped to and 
stored at the fort in bulk. Glass containers, such 
as gallon, quart, and pint bottles, though only 
mentioned as units of measurement, must also have 
existed in large quantities at Fort Stanwix. 

Salted beef and salted pork, two large items, 
were usually stored in barrels, but occasionally a 
reference is made to "bushels of beef." Other items 
that also appeared in barrels were flour, rum, wine, 
salt, and even soap. Usually stored in bushels 
were corn grain, and peas, and sometimes salt. 
The hogshead usually contained rum and brandy. 
Rice containers were referred to as "tierces of 
rice." References are also made to "flour casks." 
Although no references were found to the employ- 
ment of bags, the latter must have been used be- 
muse the British Army constantly shipped bread 
ind peas in bags. Similarly, though no references 
vere found to the use of the firkin, it must have 
)een used because the British Army shipped and 
;tored its butter in firkins. 

Glass containers, such as gallons, quarts, and 
lints, were probably used to hold rum, brandy, 
vine, beer, cider, and other liquids. Frequently, 
hese containers stored liquids purchased from sut- 
ers or farmers. 

Food spoilage represented a very serious logis- 

i ical problem to both sides in the Revolution. The 

1 )nger the lines of communication, the greater the 

j{ roblem. It took several days by boat or wagon to 

I lip provisions and supplies to Fort Stanwix from 

\t .lbany and Schenectady. Such a long journey 

X ithout modern refrigeration caused considerable 

Is railage. Proper containers and proper packaging 

f) ere imperative if spoilage, particularly of meat, 

as to be avoided. In July 1777, on the eve of 

e siege, Fort Stanwix found itself with more than 

),000 pounds of spoiled salted meat. 30 Such in- 

stances of spoilage must have been frequent, be- 
cause in April 1778 Lt. Col. Willett issued orders 
to fit up the southwest and northwest bombproofs 
for the storage of beef and pork provisions. He 
further instructed the commissary to take the neces- 
sary precautions to see that the beef and pork were 
properly examined and well coopered before they 
were stored in the bombproofs. 37 



A. Large Armaments 

Although Fort Stanwix was a solidly built fort 
for its clay, it was actually never fully armed with 
the proper number of cannon. 

In 1758, while it was under construction, 50 
cannon and mortars were proposed for the fort. 
Each of the four bastions was to carry eight can- 
non; the remainder were to grace the curtains and 
other sections of the fort. The type and size of 
guns to be employed were as follows: 

6 eighteen pound iron cannons 
12 twelve 
12 nine 
10 six 

2 eight inch Howitzers 

2 " mortars 

2 thirteen " 

4 four and three-fifths iron coehorns 

Total : 50 > 

This plan to arm the fort with 50 guns was 
never realized. About a year later General Gage, 
who was superintending the construction of other 
forts on the Great Lakes and was desperately in 
need of any kind of assistance from Fort Stanwix, 
reluctantly admitted that the latter could provide 
little help in the way of guns having only one 12- 
pounder two 9-pounders, two 6-pounders, four 
3-pounders, and two small mortars.- One traveller 
through North America in 1765 noted that while 
Fort Stanwix was "calculated" for a good many 
guns, it had only 18 mounted.' 1 While the fort was 
undergoing reconstruction in 1776. an effort was 
made to supply it with the necessary guns, but the 
attempt was not any more successful than in 1758. 

Anticpating the shipment of heavy guns, and 
before a detachment of artillerymen could be as- 
signed, General Schuyler directed the commander 
of Fort Stanwix to 

furnish the Officer of Artillery with such a Number of 
Men. as will be fully sufficient to work the Cannon in 
case of an Attack & they should be constantly exer- 
cised in that Business. This will not only be an 
advantage to the Regiment In case they [sic] should 
be no Artillery men may be at hand, but be of service 
to the cause in general, that, one or more of your 
Officers, should also be instructed in the Management 
of Cannon. 4 

It was not until January 1777 that a company 
of artillery was dispatched to Fort Stanwix."' In the 
meantime, cannon and other guns, including related 
equipment and ammunition, were being shipped to 
Fort Stanwix. By June 1777 these supplies were 
leav ing the quartermaster depot at Schenectady 
almost on a daily basis. 

In spite of all this activity, however, a report 
issued the same month noted that the fort had only 
six "small" cannon and two field pieces to defend 
it. Schuyler unhappily complained to Washington 
that the fort was poorly supplied with cannon. r ' 

After learning that the enemy had reached 
Oswego and was soon to threaten Fort Stanwix. 
Schuyler quickly set about sending provisions and 
ammunition to the fort, but the effort, unfortun- 
ately, bore little fruit. 7 At the end of the siege. 
one member of the garrison reported in his journal 
that Fort Stanwix had 13 cannon on hand besides 
several guns of varying sizes and types taken from 
the enemy. 8 

Manuscripts reveal that from March through 
June 1778 the number and types of cannon at Fort 

Stanwix remained essential!) the same. During this 

period, the fort had three 9-pounders, four 6- 
pounders, and four 3-pounders — a total of 1 1 can- 
non. In addition, it had four 4-2/5 caliber Royal 
mortars. 1 ' It is very likely that the above cannon 
were at least the same type of guns, if not the same 
ones, used during the siege. 

An excellent inventory of the ordnance, in- 
cluding the cannon and mortars noted above, in 
store at Fort Stanwix in May 1778 revealed the 
following items in the quantities indicated: 
1 1 cannon (three 9-pounders, four 6- 
pounders, four 3-pounders) 

4 Royals, 4-2/5 caliber 

4 traveling carriages for 3-pound cannon 
9 garrison carriages for 6- and 9-pound 

2,269 round shot 
31 cannister shot 
393 case shot fixed with flannel cartridges (shot 

were in all 3 caliber) 
148 grapeshot (for 6- and 9-pounders) 
640 wads (for 3-, 6-, and 9-pounders) 
360 tubes damaged (3- and 6-pounders) 
450 paper cartridges filled (3-, 6-, and 9- 

849 empty paper cartridges (3-, 6-, 9- 
40 handspikes (3-, 6-, 9-pounders) 
14 spunges (3-, 6-, 9-pounders) 
8 ladles (3-, 6-, 9-pounders) 
10 wad hooks (3-, 6-, 9-pounders) 
14 caps for spunges (3-, 6-, 9-pounders) 
1 1 aprons for cannon (3-, 6-, 9-pounders) 
8 priming wires (3-, 6-, 9-pounders) 
1 1 tompkins (3-, 6-, 9-pounders) 
12 lind stocks (3-, 6-, 9-pounders) 
8 tube boxes (3-, 6-, 9-pounders) 
1 gin ropes 
1 set of men's harness 
1 coil of rope 

5 spunges for Royals 
4 aprons for Royals 
4 trail spikes 
8 post fire stocks 
3 dozens of post fires 

10 powder horns 
1 pincher 

1 hammer 

2 gimblets 
20 coils of slow match 








rheems of cartridge paper 

sets of dragropes for 3-pounders 


set of spare wheels for 9-pound carriages 

spare carriage for 9-pounders 

spare carriage for 6-pounders 


boxes of musket balls 



shells for Royals 


barrels of powder "' 

It may be of interest to compare the similarity 
of the following partial list of heavy armament and 
ordnance supplies, which appeared in a return of 
ordnance needed in the Northern Departemnt in 
August 1777, with the preceding list of items: 
7 tons of 3-pound shot 
4 tons of 4-pound shot 
3 tons of 6-pound shot 
3 dozens of large horns suitable for priming, 
cannon, with belts, bits, priming wires, 
12 dozen post fires 
Vi ton of slow match 
2000 tubes suitable for 3-, 4-, and 6-pounders 
200 3-pound flannel cartridges 
400 4-pound 
200 6-pound 

1000 paper cartridges for 4-pounders 
1000 " " " 3-pounders 

1000 " " 6-pounders 

20 sets of men's harnesses 



" dragropes 
dozen scissors for the laboratory 
dozen pairs of pinchers 
dozen hammers 
500 sheets of lead 

2 dozen tube boxes with belts 
100 yards of oil cloth for covering 
ammunition n 

B. Small Arms and Ammunition 

Although the written evidence is meager, the 
musket was probably the most common small 
weapon employed at Fort Stanwix during the 


84 Fort Stanwix 

siege. Whether the Brown Bess or some other Eng- 
lish musket was used is not known, but in all prob- 
ability, an English musket was extensively utilized. 
On the other hand, there is some concrete evidence 
that a French type of musket was also used, in 
June 1777, Leonard Gansevoort again wrote to his 
brother that "Lieut. Mc Clallen has desired me to 
inform you that he has drawn out of the Store sixty 
good new French muskets and the like number of 
Quality Bayonets, Cartouch Boxes and Bayonet 
belts." This written evidence may be corroborated 
by the discovery by archeologists of a single iron 
forward band said to have probably come from a 
French weapon. 12 

Although there are few direct references to 
the use of the musket at Fort Stanwix, there are 
several references to musket ball and musket 
cartridges.' n 

There arc several documents pertaining to 
the Northern Department and to posts in other 
parts of the colonies that make references to small 
arms and related items. From these documents we 
can conclude that generally the same arms and 
related equipment were probably employed at Fort 
Stanwix. A resolution passed by the New York 
Provincial Congress in August 1776 directed that 
every person in the military, including the city and 
county of Albany and Tryon County, was to fur- 
nish himself with a 

good Musket or firelock & Bayonet Sword or Toma- 
hawk, a Steel Ramrod Worm, Priming Wire and Brush 
fitted thereto, a Cartouch Box to contain 32 rounds of 
cartridges, 12 flints and a knapsack agreeable to the 
directions of the Continental Congress. . . . That every 
man shall at his place of abode be also provided with 
one pound of powder and three pounds of bullets of 
proper size to his musket or firelock." 

Pistols, usually carried by officers, were also 
used at Fort Stanwix. Reference to such a weapon 
appears in a letter from Jermiah Van Rensselaer to 
Willett. 15 Swivel guns also might have been items in 
use at the fort, but if they were, they were in small 
numbers. These guns, along with musket balls, 
powder, bullet molds, cartridge paper, and fuzes. 
were requested of the New York Provincial Con- 
gress by General Schuyler for the Northern Depart- 
ment in 1775. 16 A return of ordnance at Fort 
Ticondcroga in July 1777 noted, among other types 
of supplies on hand, reams of musket cartridge 
paper, powder (in whole or half barrels), swivels 

(guns), wall pieces (guns), muskets, bayonets, 
pistols, bayonet belts, cartouch boxes, bullet molds, 
musket cartridges, priming wires, flints, boxes of 
musket ball, powder horns, and hand grenades. 17 
That same month General Schuyler appealed to 
Washington to send him, among other much-needed 
items, "a Quantity of fixed Musquet [sic] Am- 
munition, cartridge paper." 1 s The following month, 
while Fort Stanwix was under siege, the Northern 
Department made a note of ordnance stores needed. 
Among these items were lead for musket balls, 
bullet molds, reams of musket cartridge paper, and 
molds for buckshot. 1!) 

C. Edged Weapons 

There is little documentation, other than on 
bayonets and spears, regarding the use of edged 
weapons at Fort Stanwix. In July 1777 a soldier 
at Fort Stanwix was punished for stealing a bay- 
onet.-" The use of bayonets is corroborated by the 
discovery of bayonets (one marked "U.S.") by 
archeologists in 1972. L>1 

In describing his famous raid, Willett noted 
that in order not to be encumbered with too many 
weapons, his men left the fort with no other weap- 
on "but a spear for each, 8 feet in length, which 
was intended to serve as a staff as well as a weapon 
of defense." Again, this evidence is supported 
by the archeologists who found six spear tips in 
1972.- :! A source dated May 24. 1781, refers to 
spears being thrown "out of their places." 24 

The small hatchet or tomahawk may have 
been a common weapon at Fort Stanwix, particu- 
larly in the hands of the militia. The New York 
Provincial Congress provided its troops with small 
hatchets, and insisted that each member of the 
militia be furnished with either a bayonet or 
tomahawk.- 5 

Swords, knives, and daggers were probably 
also common weapons at Fort Stanwix. although 
no specific references in documents have been 
found. There were probably a variety of swords 
used by officers, and noncommissioned officers must 
have used short sabers. Knives and daggers were 
especially plentiful, since th \ could be used for 
cutting food and other objects, as well as for in- 
close fighting. The Massachusetts and Tryon Countj 
militias were most likely to be seen with them. 

). Accouterments 

Historic Furnishing 85 

As in the case of small arms and edged 
/eapons, specific documentation attesting to the 
xistence of accouterments of various sorts is also 
ery meager. Nevertheless, the use of tents at Fort 
tanwix seems to be established as early as 1759, 
nd in 1776 one officer took umbrage at the fact 
hat he was obliged to "lye in the tents along with 
le men whilst" his superior officer slept quietly 

Because the tent was indispensable during the 
eriods that construction was going on, it is prob- 
ble that it may have played a significant role in 
ousing some of the men during the siege, when the 
arrison was overcrowded. Overcrowding at the 
)rt was inevitable, although sources are silent on 
lis subject. No doubt some room for the over- 
ow was made available in barracks and casemates, 
ut it is not unreasonable to suppose that the tent 
as employed within the fort in order to absorb 
imc of this increase. 

The knapsack and canteen were two items 

irely mentioned in documents; it is possible that 

cy may not have been as plentiful as one would 

ive liked. In fact, in April 1778, Lt. Col. Willett 

writing to Colonel Gansevoort, who was tem- 

orarily away from Fort Stanwix, asked, "Don't 

hi think the men ought to have each a Napsack 

1 c] of some kind or other in case anything should 

l rn up to require us to march, as well as can- 

,n. . . ." - 7 The conclusion that there were knap- 

cks and canteens is reinforced by the fact that just 

fore the siege, men were arriving almost daily 

1 the garrison. These men must have carried such 

i nis, because a long march was unthinkable with- 

t them. 

Other accouterments that were undoubtedly 
: Fort Stanwix were the powder horn, flints, and 
i "touch or cartridge boxes. It is inconceiveable 
: t to imagine these items at Fort Stanwix during 
i siege. In 1776 the New York Provincial Con- 
ss set down what each member of the militia 
>uld have in addition to weapons. It directed 
; t each man furnish himself with a steel ramrod. 
t rm, priming wire (with a brush attached there- 
, and a cartouch box containing 23 cartridges, 
flints, and a knapsack. 28 



As late as August 1776, while construction 
was underway, the garrison was experiencing a seri- 
ous shortage of clothing. Col. Elias Dayton, then 
commanding the garrison, reported to General 
Schuyler that there were at least 250 men, more 
than half the garrison, without shoes, stockings, and 
shirts; facing the approaching winter without these 
basic items left him somewhat apprehensive. 1 A 
year later the situation had hardly ameliorated — 
many of the men were still in dire need of some of 
these items. To partially relieve this situation, an 
inventory was ordered of all hides at the post, pre- 
sumably for the purpose of providing substitutes 
for shoes. - 

Lack of adequate clothing continued to plague 
the garrison to the point of affecting morale. It 
seemed as if the problem would never improve, 
since the shortage was prevalent throughout the 
Northern Department. After a strong appeal for 
clothing in 1780, the commander at Fort Stanwix 
was told that there was not enough clothing in the 
public stores, and he was urged to use sparingly 
what he had. In order to magnify the seriousness 
of this shortage, soldiers were warned that any de- 
liberate misconduct that led to the neglect of one's 
uniform would lead to severe punishment/' 

From time to time clothing supplies arrived 
at Fort Stanwix, but frequently they were not in 
the quantities desired. In the spring of 1778 Wil- 
lett wrote with some pleasure that: 

This day we had the pleasing satisfaction of receiving 
a number of shirts shoes etc for our soldiers. The 
shirts however arc not quite sufficient to enable every 
man to be supplied with two. . . .' 

shipped consisted of 205 coats, 205 jackets, 400 
shirts, 410 pairs of shoes, 274 pairs of stockings, 
283 pairs of mittens, 205 hats, and a quantity of 
breeches and blankets."' 

It may be of value to review several docu- 
ments, which, although not directly related to Fort 
Stanwix, may have some bearing on the under- 
standing of clothing worn at that post. One of 
these documents is a letter to General Gates in- 
forming him that James Mease, Clothier General 
of the Continental Army, was shipping to the 
Northern Department, 1,000 coats and 380 shirts. 
This letter is important because it reveals the great 
variation in outer garments that existed in the Con- 
tinental Army. The following types of coats are 
quoted verbatim: 

300 privates brown faced red 

16 sergeants do. 

24 privates blue faced red 

10 sergeants do. 
100 privates brown faced white 

95 brown turned green 

19 sergeants do. do. 
126 privates blue faced red 

10 sergeants do. do. 
50 privates drab faced red 
10 sergeants do. do. 

96 privates faced green 

20 drummers & fifers green faced blue 
18 privates brown faced white 

36 brown faced white 6 

Bj the end of 1780 a fair amount of clothing In all likelihood some of these coats eventual! 

had arrived in Albany, some of which was sched- found their way to Fort Stanwix in time for the col 
uled for shipment to Fort Stanwix. Items to be weather. 


Another document not directly related to Fort 
jtanwix but that might shed light on the type of 
Nothing worn contains a list of clothing allowed the 
rontinental soldier by an Act of Congress. This 
ist, dated September 6, 1777, included coats, vests, 
)reeches, shirts, hose, shoes, blankets, linen overalls 
for warm weather), woolen overalls (for cold 
veather), hats, and hunting shirts. 7 

It might be of interest to compare this docu- 
nent with one issued in 1781, a resolution passed 
)y the Continental Congress directing that all non- 
:ommissioned officers and soldiers who are or may 
lereafter be enlisted during the war be annually 
urnished with: 

One Regimental Coat full made 
One Cloth Vest 
One pair of Cloth Breeches 
One pair of Woolen Overalls 
Two pairfs] of Woolen Hose 
Two pairfs] of Woolen Socks 
One Tall Hat or Leathercap 
Four Shirts 

Two Pairs of Linen Overalls 
Four pairs of Strong Shoes 
One Blanket 
One Rifle Shirt & 
One pair of Woolen Gloves 
Also one pair of Shoe Buckles and one 
Clasp every two years. 8 

At this point it might be well to inject several 

ieces of evidence which may provide us with clues 

mcerning the regimental uniform of the 3 New 

ork Regiment. Just prior to the siege. Colonel 

ansevoort received one of his frequent letters 

|1 Dm his brother reassuring him that the commis- 

'|< ry clothier for the Northern Department was in 

e process of sending him "76 Coats blue with 

;d facings and white lining just your Uniform 

gether with the like Number of Infantry Hats." 9 

f 1778 an officer at Fort Stanwix wrote to Colonel 

S insevoort, who happened to be temporarily in 

i bany, to order 8 yards of broadcloth, for him 

t the commissary for clothing because his "blue 

;l'>ak" had been used for colors at Fort Stanwix. 10 

:'] is written evidence suggests that the uniform 

jf the 3 New York Regiment was largely blue. The 

t' dence produced by Mr. Frederick P. Todd, an 

J hority on early American uniforms, appears to 

i >stantiate this conclusion, as does Colonel Gan- 

sevoort's uniform, presently in the Smithsonian In- 
stitution. Dated 1776 the uniform is blue with a 
red facing. On the other hand, a portrait of Mari- 
nus Willett painted by Ralph Earl sometime be- 
tween 1784 and 1795 and owned by the Metro- 
politan Museum of Art depicts the uniform as blue 
with a white facing. 11 

Another document sheds some light on the 
clothing worn by the militia in New York. The 
Provincial Congress of New York ordered the com- 
missary to purchase coarse broadcloth for making 
712 short coats, and crimson cloth for making cuffs 
and facing. In addition, the commissary was to 
purchase light brown coarse broadcloth to make 
7 1 2 short coats, with blue cloth for cuffs and fac- 
ings, and dark brown coarse broadcloth for making 
712 short coats, with scarlet cloth for cuffs and 
facings. 12 

Watch coats were used at Fort Stanwix in 
1781. These were heavy coats worn by the guard 
while on sentry duty. One watch coat, for which 
the corporal of the guard was accountable, was 
furnished each sentry box. 13 Each guard that came 
on duty would use the same coat. 

Snowshoes were also important items em- 
ployed at Fort Stanwix during the winter months. 
Snowshoes were made at Fort Stanwix in fairly 
large quantities. In early 1777, General Schuyler 
ordered Colonel Elmore to "please to cause fifty 
pairs of Snow Shoes to be made." 14 When the 
guardhouse was consumed by fire in 1780, all the 
snowshoes stored there were destroyed. 15 

There were several items of clothing worn by 
members of the garrison which were not issued by 
the commissary. These were personal items either 
acquired from families or purchased from sutlers. 
The officers were usually in a better position to 
acquire these items because they had the money to 
buy them and the room to store them. Because of 
this fact, officers' clothing was superior to that 
worn by the enlisted man. An excellent case in 
point was the clothing worn by the Army chaplain 
at Fort George. His inventory of clothing seemed 
endless, and it was apparent that much of it was 
not commissary issue. It consisted of: 





jacket and breeches (thick cloth) 


88 Fort Stanwix 

coat and jacket 

knit breeches 

striped jacket 

blue waistcoat 

2 pairs of black stockings 

" " " grey 

" " blue yarns 

1 pair of Indian stockings 

2 pairs of shoes 

1 pair of boots 

7 shirts 

3 bands 

3 long neck cloths 

3 stocks 

1 silk handkerchief 

1 white 

1 check 


Gloves, mittens 

buckles, etc. 


1 bed of wool 

1 Check woolen blanket 

1 white 


1 pair of linen sheets 

1 woolen sheet 

1 pillow 

2 pillow coats 

2 towels 1(i 



Situated in the midst of the Iroquois Confed- 
-acy, Fort Stanwix was literally at the crossroads 
f Indian traffic. Treaties were made there and 
idians frequently visited. General Schuyler 
orked incessantly to improve relations with the 
ioquois, and he used Fort Stanwix as his base of 
Derations. He attached considerable importance 
i having goods for the Indians, either for purchase 
• gifts, a precedent long ago established by the 
ritish. He took special pains to see that all his 
)sts in the Northern Department, especially Fort 
anwix, were adequately supplied with goods for 
is purpose. In 1776 Schuyler wrote to Congress 

should order to the value of about fifteen hundred 
i ainds in Indian goods to Fort Stanwix to be there 
I sposed of at such a price as to give no umbrage to 
I e Indians and that the States may not lose above four 
i indred pounds upon them. . . - 1 

In January 1777, Schuyler ordered Colonel 
I more to purchase 20 pounds of goods as gifts 
Br the Indians. Fifteen months later the Board of 
i dian Commissioners for Indian Affairs at Albany 
I it a quantity of goods to Fort Stanwix, also to be 
! ed as gifts for the Indians. Meanwhile, members 
1 the garrison were warned not to purchase these 

ods from the Indians on pain of being punished. 2 

So significant was this activity at Fort Stanwix 

it in December 1776 John Hansen, the commis- 

a y at the fort, requested Colonel Elmore to set 

s de a room for Indian goods. The room he re- 

ved adjoined the one in which he resided. His 

plans were to connect the two rooms by means of 
a doorway so that there would be only one door 
from the outside leading to both rooms. Appar- 
ently he decided upon this plan in order to have 
better control over the supply in his charge. Han- 
sen immediately sent word to Reverend Kirkland, 
who was both chaplain to the garrison at Fort Stan- 
wix and missionary among the Indians, to pass on 
to the friendly Oneidas that he had received large 
quantities of supplies for them/' 

From the sources on hand it is difficult to 
identify all the supplies available to the Indians, 
but rum was a major item. One Officer in Colonel 
Dayton's regiment said that "Rum is an Article 
we are obliged to give them [viz Indians] & many 
of them cannot be pacified till quite drunk." 4 

Next to rum, clothing and blankets were also 
widely sought by the Indians, particularly during 
the cold weather. General Schuyler told Congress 
that there were Indians in Albany who complained 
constantly because of lack of clothing and blankets. 
Schuyler said with some despair that "To transact 
Business with Indians at any Time is a most dis- 
agreeable Task. To do it with empty hands greatly 
increases the Difficulties." 5 

Schuyler sought assistance from every quarter 
in obtaining Indian supplies, and in 1777 he re- 
quested blankets, blue strands, vermillion, knives, 
long and short pipes, and coarse white linen for 
shirts from Boston through an agent of Congress. 
Some of these items were destined for Fort Stan- 
wix/' Other items provided the Indians at Fort 

Stanwix were bread and beef.' 
were other provisions. 

No doubt there 




Livestock was employed in two ways at Fort 
Stanwix: first, as food, and second, as draft ani- 
mals. Horses, beef cattle, milk cows, and hogs 
were found at the fort during the siege, and in all 
probability poultry was there also. 

Beef cattle were a major food of the garrison, 
and were usually found in the commissary's re- 
turns. The number of cattle often fluctuated de- 
pending upon the number of people in the garrison 
and upon the erratic behavior of the supply line. 
In August 1776 the fort had about 23 head of 
cattle to provide fresh meat for the garrison. 1 

One year later, soon after the siege. Fort Stan- 
wix complained about the shortage of provisions, 
but the general commissary in Albany could not 
understand the justification for this complaint 
when the latest commissary return revealed that the 
garrison had 42 head of cattle. He conceded, how- 
ever, that the cattle "must have been small." - De- 
spite what might have been a misunderstanding. 
2 months later 40 head of cattle were on their way 
to Fort Stanwix.' 5 Meanwhile, as late as December 
1 780, 47 head of cattle were shipped to the garri- 
son, but this was probably the last big shipment 
before the fort was evacuated.' 

The cattle that were sent to Fort Stanwix 
were eventually slaughtered, salted, and barreled. 
Several barrels of salt were usually on hand for 
barreling cattle. The barrels were often made at 
the fort. Thus the commander was ordered in 1780 
"to get at least 300 Beef Barrels made instantly." "' 
The British often shipped staves, hoops and back- 
ings, along with other provisions, to their forces in 
America where barrels were then made. The same 
procedure was probably employed by the 

Some of the cattle were served as fresh meat, 
and officers usually reaped the benefits. An order 
issued in 1780 directed the commissary at Fort 
Stanwix to issue a 3-day ration of fresh meat for 
the officers of the carrison. ,: 

Milch cows and hogs also made up part ol 
the livestock, but these were probably small ir 
number. Moreover, this livestock was usually pri- 
vately owned, either by members of the garrison 
itself or by neighboring farmers. During the siege 
Colonel Gansevoort was forced to slaughter milch 
cows and hogs, "the property of the late inhabi- 
tants" of Fort Stanwix, in order to supplement hi 
inadequate provisions. 7 

The owners of milch cows sometimes pre- 
sented problems to the garrison. Although miU 
was always welcomed, they often sold it at ex- 
orbitant prices. In September 1777 the commandei 
was compelled to put a ceiling on the price ol 
milk, setting it at 6 pence a quart. He reminded 
these owners that their cows received feed from the 
public lands, and he cautioned them that if the 
price ceiling was violated, he would have their cows 
expropriated and turned over to the hospital. 8 

Hogs proved to be a nuisance; they were fre- 
quently let loose about the fort, injuring the works 
At one point owners of these animals were ordered 
to have their hogs "ringed" on penalty of havinc 
them expropriated." 

Records dating as early as 1765 indicate thai 
horses as well as oxen were employed at Fort Stan- 
wix for pulling wagons transporting boats and sup- 
plies from the Mohawk River to Wood Creek." 
Horses were also used for carrying couriers and the 
commander of the fort. In late 1776 there were 
sufficient horses to warrant the assignment of r 
blacksmith to the fort. 11 

.lust prior to the siege. Colonel Ganse\oon 
requested two horses to be kept at "My Place foi 
any Sudden Emergency." 12 Whether they wen. 
finally made available to Colonel Gansevoort is not 
clear, but it is certain that at least seven horse; 
were at Fort Stanwix during the siege, and the) 
were used for pulling wagons. In Willett's famous 
raid, seven supply wagons from the fort were usee 
to cart away the plunder. 1 ' 5 




jf. Engineer Stores 

Engineer stores, as at many forts of the pe- 
iod, made up a very large segment of the furnish- 
ngs at Fort Stanwix. Since the time of its 
eoccupation by the Americans and long after the 
iege, it was constantly under construction. The 
esult was that there were always large quantities 
"f tools and construction materials at the site.' 

The situation was similar at almost every post 
i l the Northern Department where the construction 
i f fortifications was going on in contemplation of 
lie attack that was expected from Canada. Tools 
i uch as axes (including the pickaxe, wood axe, 
; nd broadaxe), spades, and shovels, were always 
i 1 great demand. So desperate was General Schuy- 
| t for axes at one time that he wrote to the com- 
t littees of several towns and districts in the counties 
I: f Albany, Berkshire, and Bennington entreating 
| lem to procure whatever axes could be spared 
om the inhabitants. 2 

Perhaps the best available document, which 

;tails the kinds and quantities of engineer stores at 

f ort Stanwix close to the period of the siege, is an 

. ventory of May 1, 1778. The following tools and 

lilding materials are listed: 



bill hooks 

cross cut saws 

iron wedges 

grapling irons 



crow bars 









broad axes 


bars of iron 


bars of steel 


barrels of nails 


barrels of spikes 


chest of carpenters tools 


iron squares 




barrels of tar 


set of blacksmith tools 






whip saws 

7 3 

It is very probable that other types of tools 
were at Fort Stanwix besides those classified as 
engineer stores, but they may have been personal 
items. For example, because many of the gardens 
were maintained as an individual preference, 
it is quite likely that garden tools were private 

There are other documents not directly as- 
sociated with Fort Stanwix, but relating to other 
posts in the Northern Department, which provide 
additional examples of engineer stores that might 
have been employed at Fort Stanwix. Some of 
these consist of hoes, hammers, mill saws, trowels, 
and wheel barrows. The following items appeared 
at many posts in the Northern Department, and 
may also have been found in varying degrees at 
Fort Stanwix before, during, and after the siege: 
casks of penny nails and spike nails, oakum, bar- 
rels of pitch, bar iron, steel, twine, casks of tin 
plates, paint brushes, barrels of oil, boxes of tin, 
kegs of white lead, gimlets, gin blocks, and wire. 4 

92 Fort Stanwix 

15. Housewares, Utensils, and Glassware C. Furniture and Accessories 

There arc few historical records that specifi- 
cally refer to the housewares and utensils used at 
Fort Stanwix. Nevertheless, we are able to deter- 
mine what was probably used at the fort by ex- 
amining documents pertaining to other forts of 
the period. 

The members of the garrison did most of their 
own cooking in their rooms and they needed pots, 
kettles, and pans in addition to plates, bowls, plat- 
ters, cups, knives, spoons, and forks. They also 
probably had salt and pepper shakers, as well as 
vinegar to spice their food. As early as 1776 when 
construction was begun to retore Fort Stanwix, the 
garrison suffered from a shortage of cooking 
equipment. Almost on the eve of the siege, 
Colonel Gansevoort complained to General Schuy- 
ler that his garrison was so destitute of utensils for 
cooking that the men either had to double up on 
the use of utensils, and thus wait a long time to eat, 
or else they had to cook by other less sanitary 
means. He attributed the large number of sick 
men in his garrison to the unsanitary preparation 
of food. 5 

A document originating in 1768 describes 
the cooking and eating utensils employed by sol- 
diers in South Carolina and notes that each room 
occupied by soldiers was to have a pot, frying pan, 
ladle, flesh fork (fleshook). trivet, pothook, platters, 
bowls, pitchers, mugs, and trenchers." Because it 
was shared by several persons in a room, the brass 
kettle was very much in demand and received con- 
siderable attention at Fort Stanwix, as well as at 
other posts. 7 

Little is known about the kind of spoons, 
forks, knives, cups, and plates employed at Fort 
Stanwix. Some of these items may have been made 
of tin, pewter, wood, and earthenware. Fortun- 
ately, there is a 1778 reference to the use of one- 
pint tin cups at Fort Stanwix. s Documents relating 
to other posts generally refer to wooden bowls and 
wooden spoons. This later reference may have 
been intended to describe ladles rather than spoons. 
Ceramic dishes were also common, but such items 
were probably found in the officers' quarters, where 
many may have been personal items. In archco- 
logical explorations conducted at Fort Stanwix. 
rcstorablc plates, bottles, and cutlery were 

Those items of furniture that were made of 
wood are difficult to document at Fort Stanwix. 
On the other hand, those items made of iron are 
easier to trace. Despite the paucity of documents 
related to Fort Stanwix on this subject, however, 
there are documents relating to other posts that 
may lead to some reasonable conclusions. 

In 1776 General Schuyler issued orders to his 
deputy quartermaster general to make available to 
garrisons at all posts in the Northern Department 
undergoing construction, including Fort Stanwix. 
sufficient "bedding or straw." "firewood," and 
"barrack utensils," the latter to include items such 
as pails, tongs, shovels, and trammels. These items 
were to be delivered to the barrack master of each 
garrison, who was to be accountable for them. 10 

Several other documents make isolated references 
to bedding, straw, bunks, pails, "benches" or a 
bench bed," and to gridirons, but the information 
is far too meager to obtain a comprehensive pic- 
ture of the furnishings of rooms in Fort Stanwix. 
In 1768 South Carolina provided each room 
with 1 pair of dog irons, 1 shovel. 1 pair of tongs, 

1 broom, 1 tub or box to carry out dirt. 1 long 
table, 2 forms (chairs). 12 trenchers. 1 hatchet. 1 
candlestick, a rack for firearms, wooden pees to 
hang knapsacks or clothing, 2 chamber pots, and for 
every two men 1 bedstead. 1 bed. 1 bolster, and 
3 blankets. 11 

Another source originating in 1767 describes 
an almost identical list of furniture and accessories 
in use at posts in the northern region. This docu- 
ment lists such items as 36 beds. 36 bolsters. 107 
blankets, 24 berths, 3 tables, 7 forms, 12 pairs ol 
dog irons, 12 pairs of tongs. 12 fire shovels. 12 
candlesticks, 12 iron pots (possibly chamber pots). 

2 chimney ropes. 123'/2 cords of wood, candles 
and hay. The reference to 12 pairs of dog irons 
and tongs, and to 1 2 shovels, candlesticks, and iror 
pots may be an indication that there were 1. 
rooms. 1 '-' 

A return of furniture for the same post t 
months later noted that there were 48 beds. 4f 
bolsters. 12 rugs. 131 blankets. 26 berths. 3 tables 
7 forms. 12 pairs of dog irons. 12 pairs of tones. 1' 
fire shovels. 12 candlesticks. 12 iron pots. an( 
2 chimney ropes. 18 

In 1776 the Committee of War of New Yorl 

Historic Furnishing 93 

State instructed its barrack masters to furnish each 
officer's room with one pair of andirons, one pair 
of tongs, one table, two chairs, and one candlestick. 
For each noncommissioned officer's and soldier's 
room containing 20 men, he was to furnish 10 
cribs (2 men to a crib), 10 bedcases, and 10 bol- 
sters (to be filled with straw every 3 months), 2 iron 
pots, 2 trammels, 1 pair of tongs, 1 wood axe, 1 
iron candlestick, 1 table, 2 benches, and 1 
bucket." It is obvious from these sources, even 
taking into account the difference of 8 or 9 years 
between them, that the general furnishings of mili- 
tary posts in South Carolina were not materially 
different from those in New York. 

That same year the Committee of Safety in 
New York delivered barrack furniture to Conti- 
nental troops amounting to a total of 680 benches. 
393 tables, 8516 cords of wood, 261 cots, some 
anterns, 249' - { pounds of candles, and 65 candle- 
stick s. 15 

From what has been learned of the furniture 
»nd accessories in use at various posts within the 
:olonies, a convincing picture can be established 
:>f the furniture employed at Fort Stanwix. 

Personal items of furniture, although few. 
night well have adorned parts of the fort, but in 
ill probability if any such furniture did exist, it 
vould have been found in the officers' quarters, 
t is known, for example, that Colonel Gansevoort 
lad his "camp stool" sent to him at Fort Stanwix 
w his mother. 1,; 



A. Parade Ground and Bastions 

For purposes of this study the parade ground 
includes not only the square of the fort, but the 
four bastions as well. In order to describe the 
appearance of this extensive part of the fort's ex- 
terior surface, an attempt should be made to lo- 
cate the large guns, the sentry boxes, the flagpole 
and its flag (or flags), the whipping post, wells, 
woodpiles, haystacks, wagons, sleighs, animal life, 
and any other object, short of buildings, existing 
on the fort's surface, particularly during the siege. 

1. Guns 

In addition to the buildings within the fort, 
cannon were perhaps the most conspicuous objects. 
Although the fort had been constructed with as 
many as 35 embrasures to receive an equal num- 
ber of cannon (6 to each of the 4 bastions, 2 to 
each of the 4 curtains, and 3 in the ravelin), there 
never were that many fixed, because cannon were 
always extremely difficult to acquire in the North- 
ern Department. 1 

Although there is some doubt as to whether 
all four bastions were completed at the time of the 
siege, there is every reason to believe that all four 
bastions were manned at the beginning of the bat- 
tle. Hence. Willett records that 1 captain, 3 lieu- 
tenants, 4 sergeants, 1 drummer, and 80 privates 
were to man the bastions in case of an alarm — 1 
officer, 1 sergeant, I corporal, and 20 privates to a 
bastion.- If there was a total of 80 privates to man 
the bastions — 20 to a bastion — then there had to 
be 4 bastions manned. The captain, who was the 
fourth officer, in addition to commanding the whole 
detachment, also assumed charge of one of the 

bastions. The orders issued at this time also directed 
that in case of alarm the whole garrison was to turn 
out immediately and assume their posts as follows: 

Major Bedlams Detachment to man the S. E. Bastion 
and adjacent Curtain, Captains Aorson and Jansen to 
man the S. W. Bastion, Capt. Benshousen and Tiebout 
to man the N.W. Bastion Captains Dewitt Swartout 
and Bleeker to man the N. E. Bastion. Capt. Greggs 
Company to repair on the Parade till further Orders. 3 

Even if a fourth bastion had not been com- 
pleted, 4 the evidence is fairly conclusive that there 
were probably cannon on all four bastions. There 
might have been a difference, however, in the type 
of carriages employed in the unfinished bastion. 
Whereas the three completed bastions probably 
had stationary carriages mounted on platforms, the 
unfinished one might have had cannon mounted 
on movable carriages. 

Although several documents record the num- 
ber and types of large guns at Fort Stanwick, there 
is one that, because of its timeliness, is of great 
importance. This document, dated August 23. 
1777. immediately after the siege was lifted, rec- 
ords that "mortars formerly the Enemys, and all 
the Cannon from the Bastions amounting in the 
whole to 13" were fired as a salute to General 
Benedict Arnold and his troops upon their arrival 
at the fort."' 

The same source noted that in the early days 
oi the siege "Two Cannon from the S W Bastion 
loaded with Grape Shott (sic] were Fired at the 
Barnes [sic] to drive of [f] the Enemys Indians that 
might have been Sculking [sic] About." ,; This in- 
dicates that there were at least two cannon on the 
southwest bastion. 

Six months after the siege had been lifted. 
Fort Stanwix reported in its ordnance returns three 


9-pounders, four 6-pounders, and four 3-pounders 
— a total of 1 1 cannon in addition to four 4-2/5 
caliber mortar Royals. 7 

A contemporary map of Fort Stanwix depicts 
the southwest bastion with 3 cannon, the northwest 
bastion with 4 cannon, the northeast bastion with 3 
cannon, and the southeast bastion with 4 cannon — a 
total of 14 guns. 8 This map appears to be in conflict 
with other contemporary sources. The two ord- 
nance returns of March and May 1 778 show 1 1 
cannon, whereas the de Fleury map delineates 14. 
It should be noted, however, that the ordnance 
returns were prepared from seven to nine months 
after the siege, while de Fleury's map, though pre- 
pared sometime after the siege (possibly 1778), 
was actually depicting the situation as it was during 
the siege, albeit from memory. Nevertheless, the 
map comes closest to corroborating Colbraith's 

In 1780 orders were issued directing that a 

'Brass Field Piece" be placed in the center of the 

parade ground opposite the main gate. 5 ' The impli- 

:ation is that the gun had been at another location 

within the fort. Thus, while it was customary in 

nost forts to place the brass field cannon in the 

;enter of the parade ground facing the sally port, 

it would appear that at Fort Stanwix the practice 

vas to place it at other points within the fort. From 

his it can be assumed that the same practice of 

noving the field piece could have prevailed during 

he siege. In view of the cannon shortage, it is 

lifficult to conceive of this one cannon being sta- 

ioned in the center of the parade ground at the 

ime of the siege, when it could have served a 

nore active role on a bastion, curtain, or ravelin. 

t may be that this cannon was employed on the 

nfinished bastion where embrasures were yet to be 


The precise size of cannon during the siege 
; difficult to determine in the absence of more 
t mely documentation. It is known, however, that 
j ist before the siege there were only small cannon. 
he returns of ordnances of March and May 1778 
jr :veal that there were 3-pounders, 6-pounders, and 
p -pounders. It is very likely that the 1 3 or 14 guns 
t lat were at the fort during the siege were not 
'l igger. 

To place the guns in their exact locations is 
B so difficult without more precise documentation. 
1 he de Fleury map does show that 1 1 guns were 

distributed among the four bastions. The other 
two or three were probably near the curtains or 
ravelin of the fort. The three or four mortars that 
were at the fort during the siege may have filled 
in the more critical gaps along the curtains. 

Most of the cannon were stationary, their 
carriages constructed of oak and iron. They were 
probably painted black with the cannon resting on 
a platform. The cannon balls were mounted on 
the ground in a pyramidal shape alongside the 
cannon. The cannon balls, including the powder 
kegs, might have been covered with oilcloth when 
not in use to protect them from the weather. Ar- 
tillery equipment needed to operate the cannon, 
much of which is listed in Chapter II, also remained 
in readiness alongside the cannon. 

2. Sentry Boxes 

There are several early references to sentry 
boxes at Fort Stanwix. A statement by the engi- 
neer in 1777 indicates that he had sentry boxes 
constructed, 1 " although he did not say how many 
or where they were built. An order in May 1778 
directs the "Superintendent of the Engineers De- 
partment" to see that all sentry boxes were in 
good order and fixed so that they could not be 
blown down." Once again, there is no hint of the 
number or the location of such structures, although 
one might infer from this last reference that they 
might have been located in areas subject to strong 

The first reference to the number of sentry 
boxes appears in January 1781, although in- 
directly, in an entry in an orderly book. It read 
as follows. 

A watch Coate [sic] will be furnished for Each Sentry 
Box on the Basteens [sic] for which the Corpl of the 
Guard is to be Accountable. 12 

This statement infers that there were at least 
four sentry boxes, one on each bastion, but sentry 
boxes may also have been located in other areas, as 
for example adjacent to the guardhouse, at the en- 
trance to the sally port, or even at the entrance 
to the headquarters. There is evidence that guards 
and sentries were posted at these locations.™ A 
drawing on a powder horn belonging to James Wil- 
son, depicting Fort Stanwix in 1779-80, while 
Wilson was stationed there, shows five sentry boxes 
— one on each of the bastions and one in front of 


96 Fort Stanwix 

the entrance to the main gate." According to this 
very crude illustration, the sentry boxes were lo- 
cated at the extreme points of the bastions. 

The sentry boxes were probably very plainly 
furnished with few comforts for the soldier per- 
forming sentry duty. There was one item, how- 
ever, furnished each sentry box — a watch coat to 
be used by soldiers on sentry duty — although the 
evidence may not be contemporary with the siege. 
A watch coat was a fairly common item employed 
throughout the Northern Department where the 
climate was extremely cold. 

3. Wells and Water Barrels 

A reference from a contemporary account 
leaves some idea as to how the garrison got its 
water. Written midway in the siege, this account 
says that: 

This Day the Enemy having Observed that we brought 
water from the Creek altered its Course so that it 
became dry. This would have done us much Damage 
had we not been able to open two wells in the Gar- 
rison which with one We had already proved a 
Sufficient Supply. 1 "' 

It is obvious from this account that before the 
siege the garrison obtained its water from the 
creek. In anticipation of what actually happened, 
the garrison wisely constructed two wells. The very 
same day that Colbraith recorded this event in his 
journal, orders were issued to keep barrels con- 
stantly filled with water, presumably not only for 
drinking but for cooking and washing."' 

Undoubtedly there were three wells at the time 
of the siege, but their manner of construction and 
location cannot be precisely determined on the 
basis of written evidence. An original bank note 
issued by the Bank of Rome. Rome, New York, 
in 1832 depicts an oversimplified Fort Stanwix. 
with a blockhouse and a magazine, and with one 
well near the center of the north casemate. 17 
Judging from this very simplified version, this evi- 
dence cannot be taken as the last word. 

Mr. John Luzader may have the answer to 
the other part of the question, that is. the wells' 
construction. He says that 

While it would be easy to generalize, we can be safe 

in assuming that the wells mentioned in documents 
relating to the fort referred to relatively shallow ones. 

perhaps lined, at least near the top, with local stone 
and capped by a wooden pump. Pumps were relatively 
easy to construct and were capable of a steadier supply 
of water in case of fire or other emergency. If a pump 
was not used, the well was equipped with a windlass 
and well-box. In connection with the lining, there were 
occasions when, in the absence of adequate stone, 
barrels were employed. 1 s 

The wording in the directive of August 11, 
1777, clearly suggests that barrels filled with water 
were used extensively at the fort. These were 
located as close as possible to sites where groups 
congregated, inside or outside of buildings. There 
were probably one on each of the bastions, one or 
two inside the guardhouse, one in the storeroom, 
one in the headquarters, one or two in each of the 
barracks and casemates, and some located around 
the ramparts of the fort. 

4. Whipping Post 

Punishment at Fort Stanwix took many forms 
— confinement, running the gauntlet, performing 
heavy duty with their legs bound with blocks and 
chains, and flogging. Aside from confinement. 
Hogging was perhaps the most common form of 
punishment. There are several references to Hog- 
ging at the whipping post in contemporary accounts. 
Unfortunately, no mention is made of such punish- 
ment during the siege, maybe because Hogging was 
done on the parade ground in the presence of a 
formal review of the garrison, and the siege did 
not permit this. Instead, men punished for a viola- 
tion were confined. 

Because flogging took place in full view of 
the garrison, the whipping post was probably in 
the center of the parade ground. There is no his- 
torical evidence showing the whipping post's ap- 
pearance, but one document related to Fort Stanwix 
notes that 

4 [men] were brought in and sentenced by the I.ieut. 
Col. to stand 1 hour stripped and tied altogether at 
the whipping post, which was immediately put in 
execution. 19 

From this account it can be concluded that 
the whipping post was constructed to facilitate the 
whipping of at least four men at one time. Mr 
Orville W. Carroll has researched the details of 
a whipping post and may therefore have the 

Historic Furnishing 97 

5. Woodpiles and Haystacks 

Firewood for cooking and heating and hay for 
feeding livestock were two important items fre- 
quently mentioned at Fort Stanwix. In January 
1777, General Schuyler, very much aware of the 
cold winters at Fort Stanwix, ordered the deputy 
quartermaster general "to take Measures for pro- 
viding" the garrison with firewood. 21 Fatigue 
parties, at least before and after the siege, were 
always getting firewood in great quantities. The 
following will give some idea as to how fatigue 
parties worked: the officers who commanded these 
details daily divided their men into three groups — 
the first to cut trees, the second to split logs with 
wedges, 2 - and the third to pile the wood. At one 
time, men assigned to cut wood were given orders 
that each man was to cut at least 1 V2 cords of 
wood a day, and "Whoever is found Deficient of 
that Quantity Shall be Mult [sic] of their whole pay 
from the time they first began to Cutt." 23 

Even while the siege was underway, fatigue 
parties were sent out in the middle of the night to 
bring in firewood, sometimes in great quantities. 24 
The distance they went could not have been very 
far for obvious reasons, and moreover it was sound 
policy to clear the ground around the fort of trees 
as much as possible. 25 

The trees around the fort were of several 
kinds. The swamp on the southwest side of the fort 
consisted largely of pine and white cedar. There 
were also white pines in the swamp on the east side 
of the fort. The rest of the woods surrounding the 
fort consisted of elm, beech, rock maple, birch, 
poplar, and a few wild cherries. 20 

There is considerable evidence to show that 
after the wood was cut, it was driven by wagon or 
sleigh, depending on the time of the year, to the 
fort. 27 There is no historical evidence, however, 
to indicate whether the wood was piled inside or 
outside the fort. It can be concluded that during 
the siege there probably existed one or more wood- 
piles centrally located within the fort, because, as 
with water, the garrison had to make sure it would 
be continually supplied with this important pro- 
vision. In this respect it may be of interest to note 
hat in November 1780 the quartermaster sergeant 
vas directed to distribute firewood every other day 
'to Enable him to Make a Beginning for a Maga- 
:ine," and because the weather was moderate, a 

small quantity of wood was sufficient for each 
room. 2S Although this source is dated well after the 
siege, it provides sufficient evidence that a magazine 
for firewood was probably nothing new inside the 
fort. It is fairly reasonable to suppose that one or 
more woodpiles were probably placed close enough 
to the buildings to make firewood easily available. 

Hay, like firewood and water, needed to be on 
the inside of the fort in sufficient quantities to feed 
the horses. This was especially true during the 
siege. However, there are several references to hay 
stacked outside the fort during and after the siege. 
This was logical because haystacks would have 
taken up too much room on the parade ground. 
In an entry of August 3, 1777, Colbraith recorded 
in his journal that on that afternoon the enemy 
carried off some hay from a field near the fort. 
Again on August 10, 1777, he recorded that around 
3 o'clock that afternoon the enemy was seen 
running across a field adjoining the fort and setting 
fire to some haystacks. In still another entry of 
August 4, 1777. Colbraith noted that on that night 
a party from the garrison was sent out to bring 
back 27 stacks of hay, which were then placed in 
the "trench" (probably the ditch), setting a house 
and barn on fire so that the enemy could not use 
them to its advantage. 

One month after the siege Willett referred to 
a party of men collecting hay "which lies in the 
fields"' and having it properly stacked for use of 
the garrison. 29 

Evidence of haystacks outside the fort is con- 
clusive. Nevertheless the situation being what it 
was — the fort under siege and several horses and 
possibly other animals confined inside — logic would 
have dictated that haystacks should have been 
stored on the inside. Some attempt must have been 
made either prior to or during the siege to keep 
enough hay inside the fort. At least one sizeable 
haystack must have been close to where the horses 

6. Temporary Storage of Provisions and 

From time to time the parade ground became 
the temporary storage place for provisions and 
ammunition. Ammunition and equipment em- 
ployed in the firing of a cannon were located next 
to each gun, where they could be quickly reached. 

98 Fort Stanwix 

In order to protect the exposed ammunition and 
powder, they were sometimes covered by oil- 
cloths. 1 " 

A most unusual event occurred on August 9, 
1777. Colbraith tells us that on "This Day the 
[Colonel] ordered all the Provisions to be brought 
upon the Parade for fear of the Shells Setting Fire 
to the Barracks and thereby destroying it . . ." 31 
How long the provisions remained on the parade 
ground is not known, but apparently the practice 
was not an unusual one. Several months later Wil- 
lett records a similar incident: 

Garrison being destitute of proper Stores for the 
provisions, Lieut Tapp is to see, that a Number of 
spars are provided and Laid along the Parade in 
Order to Roll the Beef and Pork upon, which are 
to be Cover'd with Boards in the best manner possible, 
until proper stores are provided for that purpose. 
The Adjutant will Supply him with a Sufficient 
Number of Men for this Business. :i - 

How often such incidents happened is hard to 
say. It is not too difficult to envision in the midst 
of the siege, when the fort was so congested, a 
parade ground covered with provisions, arms, and 
ammunition sometimes in complete disorder. 

7. Wagons and Sleighs 

In a previous section, it was explained how 
horses were used at Fort Stanwix chiefly for pull- 
ing wagons and sleighs loaded with supplies. 
Colonel Gansevoort felt it necessary to request two 
horses for himself and his staff in the event of a 
"sudden emergency." 33 Willett wrote several 
years after the siege that there were seven wagons 
with horses in the fort during the battle.' 5 ' 
Wagons and sleighs were used extensively for bring- 
ing in firewood and hay gathered from the sur- 
rounding woods and fields. They were also used 
extensively for bringing in supplies brought up by 
bateaux on the Mohawk River. In one instance 
horses ami wagons were sent as far as Oriskany— 
some 20 miles — to pick up hay. :ir> 

Sleighs were used when snow prevented the 
use of wagons. i,! Frequently sleighs, which brought 
up supplies from the east when the river was un- 
navigable, were temporarily housed at the fort, 
adding to the congestion. These sleighs were im- 
mediately put to use by the garrison in bringing in 

firewood. In February 1781 a caravan of 50 
sleighs arrived at the fort, and these were quickly 
employed for the next few weeks in carrying wood 
for the garrison.'' 7 

Records reveal that before and after the siege, 
horses and wagons as well as cows were kept in- 
side the fort. In September 1777 the Officer in 
charge of the guard was ordered to see that no 
horses or cattle "are Suffered to go in the Ditch." 38 

Of far greater interest is a later directive is- 
sued to the Officer in charge of the guard to see 
that "all the Slays [sic]. Horses & Cows are turn'd 
out of the Garrison, before the Gates are shut as 
they are a Nusance [sic] to the Garrison." :!!l One 
can interpret this to mean that up to this time 
horses, cows, and wagons were kept inside the 
fort. It can also be concluded after reviewing the 
evidence that horses, cows, and wagons were kept 
outside as well as inside the fort, depending on cir- 
cumstances and the whims of those in command. 
Logic certainly dictated that during the siege they 
would have been kept inside the fort. 

8. Tents 

There is no historical evidence that tents were 
used inside the fort during the siege. There is con- 
siderable evidence, however, indicating they were 
used before and after the siege. There are several 
references to the use of "markees" in late 1776. 
Ebeneezer Elmer, a member of the 3 New Jersey 
Continentals, records that he retired to "Colo. 
Whites Markee & to Rest." Several weeks later he 
again recorded with some resentment, that he was 
"obliged to lye in the Tents along with the men 
whilst the [his commanding officer] in quietude 
sleeps etc. in House." 4 " Several days later Elmer 
was still sleeping in a markee. and he noted that 
as many as 51 men were "employed in getting & 
Hailing [sic] Shingles & Wood etc. — Besides the 
Artificers & Sawyers [sic] Lodged in the Markee 
with the Serjiants [sic] etc as Usual." 41 

In 1780 orders were issued to "Collect the 
tents and put them in Store." This can be in- 
terpreted to mean that tents had probably been used 
from time to time within the fort, although these 
tents may also have been used after a King march. 

I here was always a shortage of sleeping quar- 
ters in 1776, and General Schuyler was deeplj con- 
cerned about the approaching winter.'- On the 

Historic Furnishing 99 

other hand, as long as the weather was relatively 
mild, as during the summer months when the siege 
took place, tents could readily be used. Moreover, 
the 700 or more people at the fort during the siege 
were too many for permanent facilities to absorb, 
and tents were the best substitute. In the several 
references to crowding in the barracks at Fort Ti- 
conderoga. General Schuyler made a strong plea 
to Congress for more tents to relieve the 
congestion. 43 

9. Necessary 

Historical evidence clearly indicates the ex- 
istence of a necessary outside the fort's ramparts 
and elevated above the ditch. 44 Of greater interest 
to this study is that some evidence reveals the 
existence of at least one additional necessary within 
the fort. The question is whether or not this neces- 
sary existed at the time of the siege. A reference 
dated September 17, 1777, notes that the quarter- 
master was directed "to have another Necessary 
built within the Fort to be set about directly." He 
was to consult with Major Hubble, the engineer, 
concerning the best place to have it erected. 4 "' A 
directive issued only 3 days later cautioned the 
garrison "not to make use of the Necessary House 
within the Fort in the Day Time. The one in the 
Ditch being designated for that Purpose." 4(! 

A quick consideration of this statement might 
lead one to the hasty conclusion that the necessary 
the men were prohibited from using in the daytime 
was the one referred to in the directive of Septem- 
ber 17. But upon more serious reflection it would 
>eem unlikely that the necessary ordered to be 
^uilt on September 17 would have been completed 
n 3 days. It would seem more likely that a neces- 
;ary had already existed in the fort before Septem- 
ber 17 — probably during the siege — and that a 
;econd one had been ordered. 

A garrison consisting of about 700 men dur- 
ng the siege could not rely solely on the necessary 
levated above the ditch, particularly when that 
lecessary was exposed to enemy fire. Moreover it 
s known that there were women who sought refuge 
vithin the fort. Considering these circumstances, 
herefore, it is more likely that at least two neces- 
arys existed at the time of the siege — one elevated 
bove the ditch and a second within the fort. 

Having experienced difficulties during the siege be- 
cause of inadequate facilities, those who com- 
manded the garrison may have given orders after 
the siege to construct a third necessary (a second 
one inside the fort). 

10. Flagpole and Flags 

The location of the flagpole in 1777 has been 
established as being at the tip of the salient angle 
of the southwest bastion. For a description of its 
appearance reference to the architectural data sec- 
tion of the Fort Stanwix historic structure report 
must be made. 47 

The question of which flag flew over Fort 
Stanwix during the siege is a controversial one. 
The proponents of the traditional account are very 
strong in their conviction that the flag was the offi- 
cial standard of the United States, and consequently 
the first official standard to fly in battle. Historian 
John F. Luzader of the National Park Service has 
taken the opposite view. His study of the flag at 
Fort Stanwix is so exhaustive that it is fruitless to 
carry the research further. It seems that Mr. Lu- 
zader's research — both that which appears in 
The Construction and Military History of Fort 
Stanwix and in his typewritten manuscript "The 
'Stars and Stripes' at Fort Stanwix: A Summary of 
The Evidence" — establishes beyond any doubt that 
the flag which flew during the siege was not the 
official standard of the United States. Instead, a 
"locally made version of the Grand Union" flew 
over Fort Stanwix. 48 

B. Bombproofs 

The interpretive prospectus proposes to re- 
furnish only three of the four bombproofs at Fort 
Stanwix: the southwest, southeast, and northwest 
ones. Hence, this section is only concerned with 
the furnishings of these three structures. 

During the years of their existence, the bomb- 
proofs were used for many different purposes — 
sometimes for brief intervals, at other times for 
more extensive periods. An attempt will be made 
to establish the more permanent uses made of the 
bombproofs, particularly during the siege. 

100 Fort Stanwix 

1. Southwest Bombproof 

Historical evidence has proven that there were 
at least two structures both inside and outside the 
fort that were used for hospitals, although perhaps 
not simultaneously. One hospital that is clearly 
identifiable in records existed outside the fort and 
was marked "Hospital" on the "Gansevoort Map 
of Fort Stanwix." ''•' There are several references to 
a hospital in manuscripts practically up to the time 
of the siege. An entry in the journal kept by Ebe- 
neezer Elmer refers to a visit he made to the "old 
lousy hospital, which represents such a scene of 
wretchedness that one could hardly bear to behold 
the abject souls therein confined." ■"'" Another 
manuscript speaks of a sergeant "being sick in the 
barracks and being carried to the hospital and 
there remaining sick for some time and being some- 
what recovered of sickness was returned to his 
barracks being still unfit for duty." 51 

There seems little doubt that the hospital re- 
ferred to in these manuscripts was the hospital 
located outside of the fort. Yet, there is also evi- 
dence of a hospital inside the fort at the time of 
the siege. During the battle one officer reported 
that a "woman was wounded with a shell last Night 
was brought to bed in our [southwest] Bombproof 
| giving birth to] a Daughter." "'-' It would seem 
that before the siege the hospital outside the fort 
was used. When it became impossible to use this 
facility during the fighting, a place inside the fort — 
the southwest bombproof — was used to handle the 
sick and wounded. 

Consistent with the practice of employing the 
bombproofs to serve several purposes, the south- 
west bombproof was also used to store official 
papers and provisions. In the midst of the siege. 
and thus while the southwest bombproof was being 
used as a hospital, it was felt necessary to store 
valuable papers in this bombproof for their pro- 
tection against shell fire. The order directing this 

all the public papers and money in the hands ol Mr 
Hansen, and the papers in the hands ol Mr. \ an 
Vechten belonging to the paymaster to be lodged in 
the bombproofs in the southwest bastion. 53 

The amount of room used for these records is 
hard to say. but it is obvious that the bombproof 
served two purposes. 

If the southwest bombproof was largely a hos- 
pital, what did it look like? First of all, it had to 
contain beds and bedding for the sick and wounded, 
similar perhaps to those in the barracks. The mat- 
tresses, or "sacks" as they were sometimes called, 
held straw "for the Sick to lay on." and whenever 
a sick person died or was discharged from the hos- 
pital, the sack with all its straw would be burned/' 4 

In addition to beds and bedding, the hospital 
probably contained a doctor's bench and an 
operating table. There were also medicine chests 
containing drugs and supplies. Medical kits, con- 
taining scissors, scalpels, drugs, needles, suture 
materials, scales and weights, and mortar and leg 
splints, as well as an operating kit, containing for- 
ceps, bullet extractor, retractors, and amputating 
knives, might also have been found in the hospital. 
Other significant items that probably appeared in 
the hospital were a barrel of water, firewood, and 

There is a very interesting document, which 
although not directly related to Fort Stanwix, 
nevertheless gives some idea of the furnishings of a 
post hospital. This document consists of an inven- 
tory of supplies belonging to the general hospital at 
Albany in 1777. Because of the documents' time- 
liness and the geographic location it concerns, a 
very convincing argument can be made for the 
hospital furnishings employed at Fort Stanwix, but 
perhaps with one reservation. Because Fort Stanwix 
was a frontier fort, it probably did not possess all 
the items on this inventory, which contained: 50 

178 blankets in wards: 40 in store 
70 bed tucks in wards; 94 in store 
195 pillows in store 
41 bed gowns 
5 1 caps in store 
324 wooden bowls; 67 in the wards 
4 water buckets; 13 in the wards 
3 rugs in store 
54 camp kettles: 18 in wards 
3 bedpans 
I c ) chamber pots 
1 branding iron 
1 box of soap 
15 gallons of rum 
15 " '" wine 
15 "" " molasses 


Historic Furnishing 101 

Indian meal 

Chocolate and sugar were important items in 
a hospital, and at Fort Ticonderoga the doctor or- 
dered them for the sick and "Such other suitable 
Regimens as may be on the ground & one half the 
Beef, or other Meat." 57 

One last question concerning the furnishings 
of the southwest bombproof should be resolved 
and that is the source of heat the hospital needed 
for its sick. Unlike the freestanding structures or 
casemates in the fort, the bombproofs had no 
chimneys for fireplaces. How then did the hospital 
get its heat? The answer might well have been an 
iron stove, although there is no mention of one at 
Fort Stanwix. Iron stoves were employed through- 
out the Northern Department, although it was a 
difficult item to acquire. In November 1776 Gen- 
eral Schuyler made a strong plea for 50 stoves for 
barracks in his department. :,s 

2. Northwest Bombproof 

Historical and archelogical evidence indicates 
the magazine was placed in the northwest bomb- 
proof after the Americans reoccupied the fort in 
1776.' r>! ' Like its location, we know little about the 
appearance of the powder magazine when the fort 
was occupied by the Americans. As a place of 
storage it was probably simply furnished. For- 
tunately an early map, is available, albeit drawn 
during the British occupation, which clearly depicts 
the shelving employed in the powder magazine. 
Shelves were off to one side of the bombproof, and 
they were sufficient to hold 2,000 barrels of 
powder. ,i0 

The rest of the magazine must have contained 
various ordnance stores. A document dated August 
19, 1777, lists a number of different ordnance 
pieces in the Northern Department, besides powder, 
which might have been stored in the magazine at 
Fort Stanwix. They are: 01 

bars of lead for musket balls 

bullet molds 

large powder horns for priming cannon, with 

belts, bits, priming wires 
post fires 
tubes for 3, 4. and 6-pounders 

3-pound flannel cartridges 
4-pound flannel cartridges 
6-pound flannel cartridges 
paper cartridges for 4-pounders 

' 6-pounders 

' 3-pounders 
scissors for the laboratory 
molds for buckshot 
paint brushes of different sizes 

sheep skins for covering spunges 
gun flints 

grape shot for quilting cannon 
Spanish brown paint 
oil cloth for covering ammunition 

Another document originating in the Northern 
Department provides additional information on 
what might have been stored in the powder maga- 
zine. Paint, apparently, was used to identify spe- 
cific ordnance items. Thus such paints as were 
"ground ... of the proper colour for painting 
Cannon carriage . . . Spanish Brown for Painting 
the Boxes which Contains the Cannons Cartridges 
in the Laboratory, & Vi of white Lead for painting 
& numbering those Boxes to lay them on" were 
ordered." 2 

3. Southeast Bombproof (Bakehouse) 

Like the northwest bombproof, there is prac- 
tically no written evidence to indicate what the 
southeast bombproof was used for. It is known, 
however, that it was once the powder magazine 
used by the British, which by 1764 had fallen into 
ruin. A bakehouse was built in its place, and al- 
though it is not known exactly when, it is certain 
that it existed in the southeast bombproof at the 
time of the siege. Archeological studies conducted 
in 1965 and 1971 show beyond any doubt that the 
bakehouse was located there." 8 

There are several references to a bakehouse 
and bakers at Fort Stanwix. One document refers 
to the baking of bread. Baking bread was probably 
a sizeable function since there were at least three 
bakers at one time.' 1 ' A later document noted that 
a soldier was tried by a court-martial for taking 
ovenwood for his own private use while pretending 
he was taking it to the bakehouse. 05 

The bakehouse was probably simply furnished. 

102 Fort Stanwix 

Besides a brick oven sufficiently large to supply 
bread for as many as 700 people during the siege, 
it must have contained barrels of flour, pails of 
water, tables for rolling dough, benches, candles, 
brooms, scales, weights, and other equipment and 
supplies essential for baking bread. 

C. Guardhouse 

A new guardhouse was constructed around 
April 1777. (i(i The guardhouse appears frequently 
in contemporary accounts and maps. 07 

The new guardhouse consisted of two sec- 
tions: one for the confinement of prisoners, and 
the other, a lean-to, for housing the main guard. 
The section used for confining prisoners consisted 
of two rooms separated by a partition in which a 
central fireplace stood to heat both rooms. r,s The 
two rooms together measured 16 by 20 feet, and 
probably housed several prisoners. One document 
referred to two prisoners, and another referred to a 
court-martial that was to take place for "all the 
prisoners in the guardhouse." 6{) 

There is little historical evidence to indicate 
what the guardhouse furnishings looked like. Thus 
many conclusions are conjectural and arc based 
upon the little information extracted from archeo- 
logical studies and historical documents. The main 
guardroom, or place of confinement, was probably 
simply furnished, containing the barest of necessi- 
ties. Since most confinements were brief, prisoners 
had few clothes with them. Probably the only 
clothing they had were fatigues. 

The two fireplaces had andirons, tongs, tram- 
mels, and a kettle hung over a fire. A frying pan 
and the usual eating utensils (fork, spoon, possibly 
knife, dish, and cup) made up a prisoner's eating 
equipment. Simple bunks or cribs, containing two 
men to a bed, and chamber pots made up the 
furniture. In all probability, the bedding may have 
consisted of only a blanket without sacks, straw, 
or bolsters. The rooms probably had no tables or 
benches. In short, they contained few comforts. 

The guardroom, which housed the guard while 
on duty, was perhaps no more lavishly furnished 
than the prisoners' room, although one might ex- 
pect more comforts. Since it was only a temporary 
quarter for the soldier, one could hardly expect to 
find the furnishings normally seen in a permanent 
quarter like the barracks. Arms, possibly muskets. 

were no doubt stored in this room in some sort of 
gunrack. Besides guns there were blocks and 
chains stored here. The block consisted of a piece 
of heavy wood, two feet long by six inches in di- 
ameter. The block was chained to the legs of the 
prisoner to prevent his escape when on a work- 
detail. 70 

In addition to the normal equipment found in 
a fireplace (that is, andirons, tongs, trammels, 
shovels, and pail) and some eating utensils, there 
were also bunks, possibly each holding two men. 
Unlike those used by the prisoners, however, these 
bunks may have had straw for mattresses, or 
maybe even sacks, blankets, and bolsters. One 
document contains a reference to an officer sleep- 
ing on a "Bench in the Guard Room" at Johns- 
town, New York. The following morning the same 
officer noted that he arose from "my Bench Bed 
as much refreshed as [though] I had Slept on a Bed 
of fdownfeathers] in a King's Palace." "' A "bench" 
and a "bench bed" are probably the same as the 
bunks or cribs found in barracks. 

The guardhouse at Fort Stanwix, particularly 
the room occupied by the guard, was also used to 
post general orders, garrison orders, and instruc- 
tions of a general nature. Marinus Willett noted 
this practice at a number of posts to which he was 
assigned. In Fishkill, New York, he noted that 
general orders "are to be placed in the Main Gaurd 
Room, And Officers arc hereby Requested to have 
all their Men acquainted with it." " 2 Because all 
soldiers went on guard duty, all could see the 
orders. At a later date, while at Fort Constitution 
and just before leaving for Fort Stanwix, Willett 
issued strict orders prohibiting anyone from "tear- 
ing down any Orders that may be placed up in any 
Guard House." 7:! These orders were probably 
hung by a nail on the inside of the room occupied 
by the guard. 

D. Headquarters 

A headquarters building at Fort Stanwix is 
clearly established in six contemporary drawings 
made between 1777 and 1781. and in one or two 
drawings made much later from memory. More- 
over there are at least two references in documents 
to the word "headquarters. '" 7 ' Much of what can 
be determined concerning the arrangement of rooms 
and furnishings must be conjectural. 

Historic Furnishing 103 

Architect Orville Carroll of the National Park 
Service, after studying the features of this building, 
has concluded that it was divided into four rooms 
of equal size. One room was for the commander, 
another room was occupied by the second in com- 
mand, a third was a dining room doubling as a 
staff room, and a fourth was occupied by two staff 
officers. A lean-to room was used either for a 
woodshed or an officer's privy, or both, or for 
lodging an orderly, or finally, for the storage of 
supplies for the staff officers. 7r ' 

The commander's room, Colonel Ganse- 
voort's, was probably neatly furnished with a writ- 
ing table, two or three chairs, and a bed bunk of 
the type used by officers. 7 " His bedding was prob- 
ably complete, consisting of a sack, blankets, and 
bolster. Colonel Gansevoort would also have had 
personal items received from home. Two of these 
items were a silver spoon and campstool, which 
(lis mother had sent to him. 77 Other objects lying 
about his room may have been items that his 
? amily had requested of him from time to time. 
At one point his mother had requested "Oswego 
Oil" and his brother wanted beaver fur to make a 
iat. 7S Colonel Gansevoort may have had these 
terns in his room waiting to be shipped. 

His fireplace probably had the usual tools, for 
sxample, andirons, tongs, trammels, a shovel, and 
i broom. Several pieces of firewood would prob- 
ibly have been piled next to the fireplace. 

Usually high-ranking officers had their own 
>ersonal chests containing liquors and wines. Pegs 
hi which to hang clothing, a sword, a holster, and 
ither accouterments must have adorned the walls, 
>erhaps close to his bunk. 

It is not certain whether Colonel Gansevoort 

moked, but if he did, clay pipes would have been 

ound on his table or above his fireplace. One, or 

, ossibly two, candesticks on his table provided 

grit. Several pieces of writing paper, quills, and 

i ikwell would also be found on his table. 

The room occupied by the second in com- 
nand, Lt. Col. Marinus Willett, would not have 
I een too different from the first. In addition his 
1 imous orderly book might be seen on the table, 
> here he made entries from time to time. 

The third room — the dining room — might 
I ave been furnished with items present on that 
c Jspicious occasion when the British submitted 
t leir surrender terms to the garrison. There is an 

excellent account of this event in Willett's 

The afternoon of the next day, the chimade and the 
appearance of a white flag, was followed by a request 
that Colonel Butler, who commanded the Indians, 
with two other officers, might enter the fort, with a 
message to the Commanding Officer. Permission hav- 
ing been granted, they were conducted blindfolded 
into the fort, and received by Colonel Gansevoort in 
his dining room. The windows of the room were shut 
and candles lighted; the table also was spread with 
crackers, cheese and wine. Three chairs placed at one 
end of the table, were occupied by Colonel Butler and 
the other two officers who had come with them; at 
the other end, Colonel Gansevoort. Colonel Mellon 
and Colonel Willett were seated. Seats were also placed 
around the table for as many officers as could be 
accommodated, while the rest of the room was nearly 
filled with the other officers of the garrison indis- 
criminately; it being desirable that the officers in 
general, should be witness to all that might take 
place. 71 ' 

There can be little doubt that this meeting took 
place in the headquarters, because it was the most 
logical place for a meeting of such importance. 
The dining room could be in no other place but 
the headquarters. 

Based upon the account given by Willett, it 
can be assumed that in the dining room was a large 
table surrounded by chairs. On the table were 
candlesticks, writing paper, quills and inkwells, 
crackers, cheese, wine, and glasses. The room 
might have had a rug, although this kind of luxury 
may not have existed at a frontier fort like Fort 
Stanwix. A dining room would have contained 
dishes, utensils, and glasses, as well as servers. 
These were probably stored in a cupboard some- 
where in the room, although shelves might have 
served the same purpose. 

The fireplace, meanwhile, would have con- 
tained the usual tools, including a large brass kettle 
hanging over the fire. Firewood would be piled 
alongside the fireplace in addition to a pail, shovel, 
and broom. 

The fourth room, which was probably oc- 
cupied by staff officers, was perhaps not too differ- 
ent from the first two, except that there were two of 
nearly everything — two beds, two tables, at least 
two chairs, etc. Each table would have had a 
candlestick, writing paper, quill, and inkwell. 

In January 1777 General Schuyler gave com- 
missions to members of Colonel Elmore's regi- 

104 Fort Stanwix 

merit, one of whom was the adjutant and the other 
the quartermaster. 4 " A contemporary publication 
outlining military instructions for soldiers during 
the Revolution describes official books kept by the 
adjutant and quartermaster of a post. It instructs 
the adjutant to keep a "regimental book wherein 
should be entered the name and rank of every offi- 
cer, the date of his commission, and the time he 
joined the regiment, etc." Finally, it states that the 
quartermaster "is to make out all returns for camp 
equipage, arms accountrements, ammunition, pro- 
visions, and forage, and receive and distribute 
them to the regiment taking the necessary vouchers 
for the delivery, and entering all receipts and deliv- 
eries in a book kept by him for that purpose." Sl 

Such books were probably kept by staff offi- 
cers at Fort Stanwix, and could therefore be found 
in this room. The regimental book would have 
been on the adjutant's table, and the book kept by 
the quartermaster would have been on his table. 

Each officer would have had a bed bunk with 
such bedding as a sack, blanket, and bolsters. 
Next to his bunk on the wall would have been 
pegs for hanging clothing, swords, and accounter- 
ments. The fireplace would have had the usual 
tools plus a pail, shovel, broom, and firewood next 
to it. Personal items would probably be seen every- 
where. Clay pipes, for example, would be found 
on tables or over fireplaces. 

The furnishings of the lean-to must depend 
upon what the room was used for. If it was used 
for storage, then it would have contained firewood 
and supplies of various kinds. It might also con- 
tain a privy for the commander and his staff. Be- 
cause it had no fireplace, it is unlikely that this 
room would have housed an orderly, unless it had 
an iron stove. 

E. East Barracks 

According to early documents and recent 
archeological studies, the east barracks measured 
approximately 20 by 120 feet. From the architec- 
tural features of the structure. Mr. Carroll has been 
able to conclude that the building contained seven 
rooms in addition to a hallway about 4 feet wide 
which divided the structure into almost two equal 
parts. s - Hue to the absence of written ami archeo- 
logical evidence, il is not possible to determine the 
si/e of each room. The sizes must therefore be 
conjectural, but since both officers and enlisted 

men occupied these rooms, it may be logical t( 
assume that because the enlisted men made up b; 
far the largest number, they probably occupied th< 
larger rooms. In any case, the difference may no 
have been too great. All seven rooms must hav< 
varied anywhere from 20 by 19.3 feet to 20 by 14.! 
feet, assuming the existence of a 4-foot-wide hall 
The interior walls of each room contained ; 

Like the sizes of the rooms, the number o 
beds occupied by enlisted men must be conjectural 
It is very likely that because of the crowded condi 
tions of the fort during the siege, there were no 
enough beds or bunks for everyone. Consequently 
some people may have slept on the floors of th( 
barrack when not sleeping in tents on the parad( 
round. Several months after the siege, complaint! 
were heard that the garrison had never been sup 
plied with sufficient beds." 

The bunks that were in the enlisted men'; 
rooms would hold two men. They were lined up 
against and parallel to the walls of the room. Thi< 
arrangement was adopted from the time that the 
fort was first constructed. Straw or sacks, bu 
probably the former, made up the mattresses foi 
the enlisted men. During the siege, sacks may have 
been a luxury, which only officers could afford 
Because hay was the simplest form of mattress, i 
was an object sorely needed; however, it was no' 
always available in sufficient quantities to serve 
both the personal needs of the men. and as fooc 
for livestock. The result was that at one poin 
orders were given to the quartermaster to main 
tain a strict account of the hay by not permittin 
it to fall into the hands of anyone without hi 
approval. V| 

The rest of the bedding consisted of bolstei 
and blankets, but like sacks, even these were ii 
short supply. 

The fireplaces in the enlisted men's roon* 
probably contained the barest of necessities. sino£ 
just before the siege there were serious shortage 
of tools. General Schuyler directed the quarte ■ 
master general in Albanv to supply, withoul furth I 
delay, Fort Stanwix and other posts in the Northe r 
Department with "Fire Wood & Barrack Utensi* 
such as pails. Tongs. Shovels. Trammels, axes \ 
kettles." 8 - 1 

Other supplies mav have also been authoriz < 
for enlised men's rooms at Fori Stanwix. In 17' 

Historic Furnishing 105 

each room occupied by provincial troops in South 
Carolina was allowed 1 pot, 1 frying pan, 1 ladle, 
1 flesh fork, 1 trivet or pot hook, 1 pair of dog- 
irons, 1 shovel, 1 pair of tongs, 1 broom, ' tub or 
box to carry out dirt, 1 long table, 2 forms, 2 plat- 
ters, 2 bowls, 12 trenchers, 2 pitchers, 2 mugs, 

1 hatchet, 1 candlestick, 2 chamber pots, a rack 
for arms, and wooden pegs to hang knapsacks, 
haversacks, and clothing. Every two men were to 
be given 1 bedstead, 1 bed, 1 bolster, 3 blankets, 
and a reasonable amount of firewood, candles, beer, 
pepper, salt, and vinegar. 8(i 

In 1776 the New York Provincial Congress 
authorized for its enlisted men's rooms almost simi- 
lar items. For each room containing 20 men, it 
allowed 10 cribs, 10 bedcases, 10 bolsters "to be 
filled with straw every 3 months," 2 iron pots 
(probably chamber pots), 2 trammels, 1 pair of 
tongs, 1 wood axe, 1 iron candlestick, 1 table, 

2 benches, and 1 bucket. In addition each room 
was supplied with three-eights of a cord of wood 
each week between October 1 and April 1. For 
the five weeks preceding October 1 and the 5 weeks 
following April 1 , three-sixteenths of a cord of 
wood was to be supplied each week. For the re- 
maining 16 weeks of the year, only one-eighth of 
a cord was to be supplied each week. KT 

In 1775 and 1776 New York's Committee 
of Safety delivered the following furniture and 
equipment: 88 

680 benches 
393 tables 
85 Va cords of wood 
261 cots 

a quantity of lanterns 
249 Vi pounds of candles 
65 candlesticks 
1 68 spoons 
650 bails of straw 

A return of barrack furniture in 1767 at such 
posts as Oswegatchie and Fort William Augustus 
listed such items as beds, bolsters, blankets, berths, 
tables, forms, dog irons, tongs, fire shovels, candle- 
sticks, iron pots, and rugs. 8!) 

It is apparent from the foregoing discussion 
that whether the authorization of supplies origi- 
nated in South Carolina or in New York, the fur- 
nishings allowed the enlisted men's barracks were 
similar. Because of shortages, these items were not 
always present in each enlisted men's room. 

As close to the time of the siege as June 15, 
1777, Colonel Gansevoort complained to General 
Schuyler about how destitute his garrison was of 
cooking utensils. The men, he said, were frequently 
obliged to wait for their meals because they had to 
share equipment. So much improvising was going 
on that he attributed to the unsanitary practices 
in cooking the high number of men being sick. 90 
A shortage of pails in barracks prompted the com- 
mander of the fort to order cedar pails made. 01 

Chamber pots were common items in Army 
barracks and other areas where men slept. How- 
ever, there was a shortage of these pots at Fort 
Stanwix, and the few that existed were probably 
in the officers' quarters. Finding themselves with- 
out such essentials, and the necessarys being too 
inconveniently located, enlisted men relieved them- 
selves in various parts of the fort. Although the 
men were warned that if caught they would be 
severely punished, the practice continued for sev- 
eral months. The quartermaster sergeant was 
finally instructed to have "Tubs placed at the Sev- 
eral Corners of the Barracks for the Men to make 
Water in which are to be Emptied and Washed 
every Morning." 92 

Shortages of many items frequently led sol- 
diers to improvise. It has already been demon- 
strated how a shortage of cooking utensils led some 
to cook their meals in unsanitary ways. At huts 
uncovered in the Washington Heights section of 
New York City it was found that soldiers employed 
barrel hoops for holding kettles in fireplaces. 93 
This practice might well have been prevalent at 
Fort Stanwix. 

Gunracks, like other conveniences, were prob- 
ably not common at Fort Stanwix, and in many 
cases muskets were stacked in a pyramidal fash- 
ion in various parts of the room. The enlisted 
man had few items of clothing, and the few he had 
were probably hung on pegs just above his bunk. 
Unlike officers, the enlisted man had few personal 
items that could make life a little more bearable. 

Of some interest, particularly since it was 
issued at the height of the siege, was an order to 
the quartermaster to have barrels constantly filled 
with water. 04 This water was used for drinking, 
washing, and fighting fires, and the barrels were 
placed at various locations, wherever people slept 
or congregated. They may have been seen on the 
parade ground and bastions as well as in barracks. 

106 Fort Stanwix 

casemates, and bombproofs. A local place for such 
a barrel in the east barracks would have been in 
the hall, where it was centrally located and quickly 

The four officers' rooms in the barracks rep- 
resented a more orderly appearance than the rooms 
occupied by the enlisted men. There was little 
crowding in these rooms, even at the height of the 
siege. At most there were probably three or four 
officers assigned to each room. A summary of a 
few contemporary accounts will give us some gen- 
eral idea of the number of officers quartered in each 
room. On October 17, 1776, Dr. Ebencezcr Elm:r 
records in his journal that Captain Walker and his 
subalterns lodged in the room that he and another 
officer occupied. The following day Elmer notes 
that Captain Walker "liveth with us in the Room 
[that] we have all along occupied." ° 5 It is obvious 
from these accounts that only two officers were 
permanently quartered in one room, while Captain 
Walker and his subordinates were only temporarily 
quartered in the same room. 

In a much later document one officer records 
that soon after his arrival at Fort Stanwix he 
"drew for the Rooms and Lieut Hyatt and I drew 
No. 1 on the Left of the North Side of the Fort." '•"'' 

One week later the following appeared, again 
establishing beyond doubt that there were two 
officers to a room in 1780: 

the Duty being so Very heavy in the Garrison the 
Commandant is Reduced to the Necessity to Direct 
that Wherever there is two officers in A Room together; 
one visitor must he Detailed in his proper ftour] to 
do Duty only on Couvcring fsicl parties. 97 

While the written evidence may be strong in 
establishing that there were two officers to a room 
at Fort Stanwix before and after the siege, the 
crowded conditions of the post during the siege 
made it very likely that there were three and some- 
times four officers in one room. Even with an in- 
creased number of officers during the siege, the 
rooms presented a much more orderly appearance 
than the enlisted men's rooms. Moreover, if any 
of the more scarce items of furniture were available, 
it is certain that the officers got them. 

In 1776 the New York Provincial Congress 
had each officer's room furnished with one pair of 
andirons, one pair of tongs, one table, two chairs. 
and one candlestick. In addition, it allotted the 
same amount of firewood to officers as it had to 
the enlisted men. 08 

Officers usually enjoyed greater conveniences 
than the enlisted man. They probably slept on 
single bunks, and in most instances their mattresses 
consisted of sacks, with bolsters and blankets avail- 
able. One chamber pot was provided for each room. 
The tables contained writing paper, quills, and ink- 
wells, as well as candlesticks. Clay pipes might 
be seen on tables or hanging above the fireplaces. 
In addition to the usual fireplace tools and cooking 
and eating utensils, officers frequently kept personal 
items. Chests containing liquor and wine were 
probably among these personal items. There are 
several references to parties and gatherings among 
officers in their rooms, which attest to the abund- 
ant use of alcohol beverages. One such reference 
notes that: 

After they had concluded the Business Laid before 
them heing a number of Colts among them; they 
began upon Drinking wine which they Continued 
Successfully till about Ten o Clock at Night. With a 
good Creature many of them got very Happy upon 
[which] appointing Capts. Dickinson & Potter & Major 
Barher Sachins [sic] they Knocked up an Indian 
Dance at [which] they yelled much. . . ." " 

One month later the same person reported 
that "At Evening Colo. White & Dr. Dunham came 
into our Room Drank & Conversed." ino Another 
officer in later years reported a "Frolick [sic] at our 
Room" on Christmas Day. 1 " 1 The same officer, 
at the New Year's Day dinner which he and at 
least 10 others attended, noted that several toasts 
were given. '"- 

Other personal items kept in the officers' 
rooms were beaver, otter, martin, and deer skins — 
articles usually purchased from the Indians. In 
January 1777 John Hansen, the quartermaster at 
Fort Stanwix, complained to General Schuyler that 
he had been unsuccessful in getting Colonel 

to stop his officers and men from Inning anything 
from the Indians. He at last . . . put a Notice on the 
Front gate which I think has never been adhered to. 
The men in the Sight of their officers daily carrying 
them in their rooms & buying of them at a much 
larger price. ... In several of the Officers Rooms you 
will find Beaver, Otters. Martins. Deer Skins etc. 10 '' 1 

Buying from the Indians and indeed from 
sutlers was certainly not prevalent during the siege. 
but there can be little doubt that the practice had 
been c rried on up to the time o( the siege, and 

Historic Furnishing 107 

that therefore many of these items may have still 
been in their rooms. 

Swords, holsters, accounterments, and various 
objects of clothing were probably hung on pegs 
within the rooms. 

Archeologists Lee Hanson and Dick Hsu of 
the National Park Service have concluded in their 
studies that there were four cellars under the east 
barracks."" There is only one piece of historical 
evidence that shows provisions were stored in bar- 
racks. On August 9, 1777, Colonel Gansevoort 
"ordered all the provisions to be brought upon the 
parade for fear of shells setting fire to the barracks 
and destroying it." 105 Whether he was speaking 
about the east barracks or west barracks is not 
clear. Nor is it clear in what part of the barracks 
the provisions were stored; however, the cool cel- 
lars were the most logical place for storing provi- 
sions. Messrs. Hanson and Hsu have reported 
finding charred oats and wheat in one celler of the 
.vest barracks — evidence that it was used exten- 
sively as a grainary."" 5 It might well be that the 
:ellars in the east barracks were also used for 
storing provisions. 

The containers in which the provisions were 
racked have been discussed at some length in an 
.'arlier chapter, and it would be redundant to de- 
scribe them here. Suffice it to say that most provi- 
sions stored in cellars were packed in one kind or 
size of container or another. One final word should 
oe said about these containers. At Fort George 
n the Northern Department, it was customary to 
)aint the word "Stores" on all barrels. 107 It may 
)e that a similar procedure was employed at Fort 

Archeologists have found the remains of sev- 
eral cannon balls, mortar bombs, cannister shot, 
md flints in the cellars of the east barracks, an 
ndication that the cellers may also have been used 
is a magazine or laboratory. 108 

■. Casemates 

According to an early definition, a casemate 
vas a "work made under the rampart, like a cellar 

< r cave with loop-holes, to place guns in it." 109 
before the Revolution, however, this concept was 
aodified so that the casemate became primarily 

1 ither a soldiers' quarters or a place for storing 

provisions and ordnance. 110 The casemates at Fort 
Stanwix conformed to this principal. 

The interpretive prospectus proposes to fur- 
nish two rooms (on the west side) of the north 
casemate as officers' quarters, the whole southeast 
casemate as enlisted men's quarters, and about one- 
third of the west casemate as enlisted men's 

1. North Casemate (Officer's Quarters) 

There is no written evidence that shows the 
number of rooms in the north casemate; however, 
archeological studies have indicated that there were 
six fireplaces equally spaced, which leads to the 
conclusion that there were probably six rooms of 
equal size. 111 Both the artifacts that were un- 
covered and the evidence of one document indicate 
that this casemate was used as an officer's quar- 
ters. A diary notes in 1780 that its owner "drew 
for the Rooms and Lieut. Hyatt and I drew No. 1 
on the Left of the North Side of the Fort." 11L> Un- 
doubtedly this room was the one on the left of the 
north casemate. 

The furnishings of these rooms were essen- 
tially the same as those in the officers' rooms of the 
east barracks, with single bunks or beds, and sacks 
to give the officer extra comfort. Occasionally, the 
arrangement of an officer's room may have been 
improvised during the siege because of the increase 
in people. Some officers may have simply slept on 
loose straw on the floor, since there were not 
enough cribs. At least one chamber pot could be 
found in each room. 

A table was in the middle of the room with 
at least two chairs or campstools around it. The 
table held a candlestick, inkwell, and quill. There 
were the usual cooking and eating utensils to be 
seen. Junior officers may have had the cheaper 
variety of utensils, whereas senior officers might 
boast of something better. The latter might have 
had porcelain dishes. Rum and wine bottles could 
also be seen on these tables, if not an occasional 
liquor chest. 

The fireplaces contained the usual assortment 
of tools and accessories such as andirons, tongs, 
trammels, kettle, firewood, pail, and shovel. Cloth- 
ing as well as weapons and accounterments were 
hung on pegs near the bunks. Finally, personal 

108 Fort Stanwix 

items such as clay pipes and skins of various sorts 
could be seen on tables, bunks, stools, and 

2. Southeast and West Casemates 
(Enlisted Men's Quarters) 

Life in the casemates for the enlisted men 
may have been a little more severe than in a bar- 
racks, but the furnishings were essentially the 
same. At the time of the siege there were probably 
more men assigned to a room than normally, with- 
out sufficient beds, bedding, utensils, and dishes to 
take care of everyone's needs Field beds, two to a 
crib, were lined up against and parallel to the 

The casemates were designed to house 400 
men, and the sizes of the east and north casemates 
were approximately 20 feet deep by 132 feet long 
(measured from center to center lengthwise.)"'' 
We also know that the three rooms in the west 
casemate were of equal size, which made the north 
room (the room to be furnished) about 20 by 44 
feet. A room of this size probably had about 20 
cribs around its four walls, holding two men to a 
crib, or a total of 40 men. During the siege this 
number may have been higher, with people sleeping 
on the floor. 

The southeast casemate was 58 by 60 feet.'" 
This casemate had two rooms utilizing a double 
fireplace. The two rooms in the southeast casemate 
together had about 50 cribs, sleeping 100 men. 

Bedding was probably similar to that of the 
enlisted men's quarters in the barracks; those more 
fortunate than others had sacks, the rest had only 
straw. Blankets and bolsters may have been in- 
suflicient in number for everyone during the siege. 
The room in the west casemate probably had one 
table surrounded by benches, and since the south- 
east casemate was divided into two areas by a dou- 
ble fireplace, there were two tables, one for each 
area. Benches also surrounded these tables. Each 
table had a candlestick as well as eating utensils, 
dishes, cups, and bottles. 

The few clothes the enlisted men had. as well 
as their accounterments, were hung on pegs when- 
ever available, but some clothing may also have 
lain on bunks. Personal items were few, but 
whatever was available was kept out of sight for 
fear it might be stolen. 

Gunracks might have been located in these 
areas, but more often than not muskets were 
stacked in pyramidal fashion in various parts of 
the room. Chamber pots may have been rare items 
in enlisted men's quarters, although an occasional 
one might be found. 

Fireplaces contained the usual tools, firewood, 
and cooking utensils. Although large kettles may 
have hung over the fire, frying pans, when not in 
use, were hung on the wall above the fireplace. 

All in all, the rooms occupied by enlisted men, 
especially during the siege, presented a chaotic and 
disorderly scene. 

Historic Furnishing 109 

1. Revolutionary war fireplace. Hut 34, 
Hut Camp of the 17th Regiment of Foot, 
Dyckman House Park, New York City, 
prior to reconstruction. New York 
Historical Society. 

2. Fireplace in reconstructed military hut. 
Dyckman House Park, New York City. 
New York Historical Society. 


The "Stars and Stripes" at Fort Stanwix 
A Summary of the Evidence 

by John F. Luzader 


The purpose of this brief report is to present the 
results of a study of the evidence concerning 
whether the flag flown at Fort Stanwix during tfr 
siege of August 1777 was the first "Stars and 
Stripes" flown in combat. This is not a history of 
the genesis of the national flag; nor is it an evalu- 
ation of the claims put forth in support of the 
Bennington and Guilford Courthouse flags. 

The Tradition 

Briefly stated, the traditional association of 
the flag that became the national standard with 
the Siege of Fort Stanwix is that the news of the 
passage of the "Flag Resolution" by the Conti- 
nental Congress on June 14 was brought to the 
fort either in the form of a personal letter to 
Colonel Peter Gansevoort, the post's commanding 
officers, or in a newspaper by the batteaux that de- 
livered a 100-man reinforcement from Wesson's 
Regiment at Fort Dayton under Lieutenant Colonel 
Mcllen. Upon receiving the dramatic and impor- 
tant news, some of the people in the fort prepared 
a flag of thirteen stripes, alternating red and white, 
and thirteen stars on a blue field in compliance 
with congressional resolution. Early in the morn- 
ing of Sunday, August 3, the first day of the siege, 
this flag was raised on one of the fort's bastions 
and a salute was fired, marking the first time the 
new national emblem was flown over American 
troops. If true, this was one of the most dramatic- 
ally important events of the American Revolution. 

One of the early champions of this interpre- 
tation was Pomeroy Jones, a local student whose 

interest in the fort had a lasting influence on the 
work of later scholars. Jones was born several 
years after the siege; but he knew a number of 
veterans of the Revolution, and he cited their 
recollections to the effect that the flag at Fort Stan- 
wix was indeed the "Stars and Stripes." ' Jones's 
stories were the basis of a number of 19th century 
assertions concerning the flag, including Dr. James 
Weise's account that the new national flag was un- 
furled, a salute fired, and that an adjutant read the 
Congress's resolution from the newspaper the bat- 
teaux detail had brought to the fort on August 2. 2 
Dr. Weise's account was picked up by The New 
Lamed History, in which the following appears. 

. . . Journal of Capt. Swartwout of Col. Gansevoort 
regiment written August 3, 1777 in Ft. Schuyler shows 
beyond cavil when the first flag of Stars and Stripes of 
which we have record was made and hoisted, but it 
was in a fort (Schuyler), not in the field, or at the 
head of a regiment. 3 

John Albert Scott's popular Fort Stanwix, 
(Fort Schuyler) and Orixkany repeats the story of 
the newspaper report and the raising of the '"first 
Stars and Stripes." 4 Although Fort Stanwix's 
claims were frequently disputed in favor of other 
sites such as Bennington. Cooch's Bridge. Brandy- 
vine and Guilford Courthouse, many writers have 
perpetuated the tradition. 


let us now take a look at the evidence upon 
which an evaluation of the tradition must be based. 
The basic document for the origin of the "Stars 
and Stripes" is the so-called Flag Resolution of 

rune 14, 1777, which reads: "RESOLVED: that 
he flag of the United States be made of thirteen 
;tripes, alternate red and white; that the union be 
hirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a 
lew constellation." 5 The resolution was preceded 
md followed by matters brought to the Congress's 
ittention by its Marine Committee. Since the reso- 
ution was converting the unofficial Grand Union 
7 lag into an official standard, substituting thirteen 
;tars upon a blue field for the canton derived from 
he British Union, which combined the crosses of 
Jaints George and Andrew, it was appropriate that 
t emanate from that committee. This was the case 
>ecause, following British precedent, flying of the 
jrand Union had been normally limited to ships 
ind permanent land installations. Thus, what 
Tongress was providing for was a new marine flag, 
lot a national military standard. 

Crucial to the story of the Fort Stanwix flag 
s the record of what happened immediately after 
he passage of the Flag Resolution. Thacher's 
Military Journal's entry for August 3, 1777, notes 
hat: "It appears by the papers that Congress re- 
olvcd on 14 June last, that the flag of the thirteen 
Jnited States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and 
vhite, that the union be thirteen stars, white in 
i blue field. . . ." ,: So far as this writer has been 
ble to determine, and this has been supported by 
he findings of other students, the first public 
lotice of the resolution appeared in the Pennsyl- 
ania Evening Post on August 30 in the following 
tern: "In Congress, June 14, 1777. Resolved That 
he FLAG of the United States be THIRTEEN 
TRIPES alternate red and white; that the union 
>e THIRTEEN STARS white in a blue field. Ex- 
ract from minutes, CHARLES THOMSON, sec." 7 

Other papers printed the resolution from Sep- 
ember 3 to October 2, and the first New York 
apers to print it were the September 8 issue of the 
Jew York Journal and General Advertiser and 
•eptember 1 1 issue of the New York Patent and 
he American Advertiser. 

The papers to which Dr. Thacher at Albany 
/as most likely to have access were the two New 
'ork and two Boston papers, the Gazette and the 
py, in which the story appeared in the September 
5 and 1 8 issues respectively. 8 

There is an obvious conflict in evidence that 
< an only be explained by acknowledging that the 
1 octor may have had access to a newspaper that 

is unknown to historians or, more likely that when 
the Journal was prepared for publication prior to 
January 1, 1823, this was one of the instances in 
which alterations were made in the organization 
of the original manuscript. 

More immediately pertinent to the Fort Stan- 
wix problems are the testimonies of Lt. William 
Colbrath and Lt. Col. Marinus Willett. In his 
Journal, Colbrath noted in the entry for August 3: 
"Early this morning a Continental Flagg made by 
the officers of Col. Gansevoort's Regiment was 
hoisted and a cannon levelled at the Enemies Camp 
was fired on the occasion." 9 It is important to 
note that the lieutenant called the standard a "Con- 
tinental Flagg," a term frequently applied to the 
Grand Union. It is also significant that he did not 
refer to the flag as a new one, as might be ex- 
pected if he was witnessing such a memorable event. 

Lt. Col. Marinus Willett wrote of the earliest 
accounts of the siege on August 1 1 in a letter to 
Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. He was also probably the 
author of another account entitled "Extract of a 
Letter from a Officer of Distinction" that appeared 
in the August 28 issue of the Boston paper, The 
Independent Chronicle and Universal Advertiser. 
In neither of these did he refer to the Fort Stanwix 
flag, a surprising oversight if it was as historically 
important as such a "first" wouid have been. His 
Orderly Book is equally silent on the subject. 10 

A quarter of a century after the siege, Willett 
wrote his "Narrative," which his son edited and 
published after the colonel's death. This is what 
the father wrote concerning the flag: 

The Fort had never been supplied with a Flagg — The 
importance of having one on the arrival of the Enemy 
had set our Ingenuity to work, and a respectable one 
was formed the white stripes were cut out of ammuni- 
tion shirts and blue strips out of the Cloak formerly 
mentioned taken from the Enemy at Peeks-hill. The 
red stripes out of different pieces of stuff collected 
from sundry persons. The Flagg was sufficiently large 
and a general Exhilaration of spirits appeared on 
beholding it Wave the morning after the arrival of the 
enemy. 11 

When William Willett edited his father's manu- 
script, he altered the wording of the sentence de- 
scribing the flag's components to read: 

"The white strips were cut out of ammunition shirts, 
the blue of the cloak taken from the enemy at Peeksill; 
while the red stripes were made of different pieces of 
stuff procured from one or another of the garrison." 12 


1 12 Fort Stanwix 

Marinus Willett's manuscript had this to say 
about the cloak from which the blue portion of the 
flag derived: 

What Baggage the enemy had they left it consisting of 
only a few Blankets and Cloaks — A blue Comblot 
Cloak taken here afterwards served to enable us to 
use it for the blue strips of a Flagg which was after- 
wards hoisted during the siege of Fort Schuyler. . . . ,:i 

Willett's statement about red, white stripes 
and blue stripes can only have referrence to a 
Grand Union Flag, because a "Stars and Stripes" 
would have had a blue field, not blue stripes. 

Two powder horns that are purported to date 
from the historic period at Fort Stanwix have been 
offered in evidence concerning the flag. I have seen 
neither of the specimens, my knowledge of them 
being limited to photographs and written descrip- 
tions. At the same time, I would have to say that 
seeing them probably would not materially increase 
my knowledge, because in spite of several years 
of experience in museum work, I would not be able 
to date them with much precision, beyond noting 
whether the horns and their lettering conform to 
types representing a period, or to determine whether 
the engravings are contemporaneous with the pur- 
ported date or are more recent additions. I have 
seen specimens whose provenience has been docu- 
mented alongside known fakes whose workmanship 
resembles the authentic so closely that no "expert" 
could have identified the genuine. Thus I suspect 
that most other students share my limitations. 

One of the horns is rather elaborately carved 
with a stylized representation of a fort that con- 
forms to the general outlines of Fort Stanwix and 
bears the inscription "Fort Schuyler; Dec'r 25, 
1777, J. McGraw." Flying from the northwest 
bastion is a flag that, except for the absence of the 
St. George, resembles the Grand Union. John Al- 
bert Scott dismissed the powder horn's evidence, 
largely on the basis that John McGraw, whom Scott 
identified as the man who did the carving, was 
enrolled in Visschcr's regiment of New York levies, 
which was not posted at the fort in December 1777. 
However, there was a James McGraw in the 3rd 
New York, which was there, and this man may 
have made the powder horn." If the horn is genu- 
ine and if John McGraw carved it. the evidence 
that it presents argues strongly that ihe Fort Stan- 
wix flag was a copy of the Grand Union. 

The other powder horn is attributed to Ft. 

Christopher Hutton on the Third New York Regi- 
ment of the Continental Line. If it is authentic, 
this specimen is the strongest piece of evidence 
that I know of in favor of the Stars and Stripes 
tradition. Several subjects have been carved on 
the horn's sides. These include: Chris. Hutton 
1777; a diagrammatic sketch of Mohawk and 
Schoharie Rivers; Ft. Schuyler III REGT; Ft. 
EDW (small and shallow cut), a field cannon 
with a pyramidal stack of six balls; an Indian 
armed with a musket and tomahawk; a man 
mounted on a horse with a caption PETER, and 
most important to this study — a flag that shows 
stripes and a field of stars. 

Some questions are appropriate concerning 
the Hutton powder horn. The most obvious is 
whether it is what it is purported to be. Since 
there arc no conclusive authentications, the ques- 
tion remains moot; although on the basis of design. 
lettering, and general appearance, I am inclined to 
accept it as a late 18th century specimen. The 
second is, what was the designer's objective? Was 
he using the characters as symbols to interpret the 
events that occurred at the fort in 1777? If thai 
was his purpose, why was the small legend "Fl 
Edw.," which must refer to Fort Edward, included'. 
That fort was located at the carrying place on th< 
Hudson River between that river and Wood Creek 
Why did the maker locate the flag where he did' 
It, obviously, was not intended to mark the fort' 
location in relation to the river. The answer V 
what his purpose was cannot be found in the char 
acters, even the equestrian figure, who probabl 
was intended to represent the Third's commande;. 
Peter Gansevoort. 

On the other hand, the characters may merel 
be decorative, a form of doodling. But that sti 1 
does not solve the problem of the flag. And tl : 
question of when the carvings were executed n - 
mains. Do they date from 1777. or are the) late 
done after the war as an exercise in nostalgii ] 
There seems to be no satisfactory answer. Ho\ 
ever, after all the questions have been asked, oi ' 
must conclude that, whatever its merits, the e> 
dence offered by the horn contradicts that offer c 
by the McGraw specimen, which has as good ; 
claim to authenticity, and more significantly it is i 
odds with the documentary evidence. Perhaps. *i 
should not afford either horn much credit and n I 
exclusively upon documentary evidence. Neitt : 

Historic Furnishing 113 

iorn can really be authenticated in a manner that 
/ill satisfy all the canons of evidence. With the 
ocuments, we are on safer ground. Their histories 
an be traced beyond reasonable doubt, and they 
an be tested by standards of internal and external 
riticism. So, let us continue to consult them. 

As has been noted, the congressional resolu- 
on of June 14 concerned a maritime flag and was 
ot intended to provide a national standard for 
se by troops in the field. This is borne out by sub- 
;quent events. 

Almost two years after the siege, Richard 
eters, secretary of the Board of War, wrote to 
leneral Washington that regimental requisition for 
rums and colors had not been filled because "we 
avc not the materials to make either in sufficient 
umbers." He went on to say concerning the 

. . as to the Colour, we have refused them for another 
:ason. The Baron Steuben mentioned when he was 
ere that he would settle with your Excellency some 
Ian as to the Colours. It was intended that every 
egiment should have two Colours — one the Standard 
f the United States, which should be the same 
iroughout the Army, and the other a Regimental 
olour which should vary according to the facings of 
le Regiment. But it is not yet settled what is the 
tandard of the U. States. If your Excellency will 
lerefore favour us with your Opinion on the Subject 
e will report to Congress and request them to 
>tablish a Standard and as soon as this is done we 
ill endeavour to get materials and order a Number 
lade sufficient for the Army. 15 

Peter's letter makes it so clear as to be obvi- 
us that the resolution of June 14 did not author- 
e a National military standard, that as of May 10, 
779, no such standard had been chosen, and that 
ongress would be requested to establish one after 
/ashington had expressed his opinion on the 

The Board of War continued to consider the 
asign during the summer of 1779, and by Septem- 
:r had apparently narrowed its choice to between 
ane with the Union and Emblem in the middle" 
id a variant of the marine flag authorized by the 
777 resolution. Between the two, the Board pre- 
rred the former. 16 

The matter was not settled by the time fight- 
g ended in 1781, and Congress never supplied 
ie troops with a national color. This does not 

mean that no variants of the "Star and Stripes" 
motif appeared on the field. The Bennington and 
Guilford Courthouse flags may have been carried 
in those engagements, but they were not the prod- 
ucts of Congressional authorization, nor were they 
copies of a national standard, because none existed. 
They were local products that used an unofficial 
design that enjoyed a degree of popularity. But 
even in those instances, the evidences for their 
authenticity, while stronger than the Stanwix case, 
fall short of being conclusive. 

It might be argued that the flag flown at Fort 
Stanwix was, like the Bennington and Guilford 
ones, an unofficial standard, designed independ- 
ently of Congressional authority. However, that 
contradicts Culbrath's identifying it as a "Conti- 
nental Flagg" and strains Willett's statment that 
the cloak was the source of the flag's blue stripes, 
to say nothing of the testimony, for what it is 
worth, of the McGraw powder-horn. 

Negative evidence may be adduced from the 
absence of any reference to the appearance of a 
new flag in any of the German or British docu- 
ments that have been studied. Of course, that 
omission is not conclusive evidence, but one could 
expect that at least some member of the besieging 
force would have been sufficiently impressed by the 
event to have noted it in some form. 17 

For what it is worth, and that is not much. 
Lieutenants Digbley and Anburey wrote that the 
new American flag was flown at Ticonderoga and 
Fort Anne before the siege of Fort Stanwix took 
place. Their testimonies in this matter can be dis- 
missed because they compiled their accounts, partly 
from notes made in the field and partly from other 
sources, some of which were post-war, sometime 
after the war. ,s 


On the basis of the documentary evidence, 
identifying the Fort Stanwix flag as the "first Stars 
and Stripes to fly over American troops in combat" 
had its origins in 19th century local tradition; it is 
not supported by contemporary evidence; such evi- 
dence contravenes it; and there is no conclusive 
evidence identifying the first instance of the flag's 
use in combat. 

1 14 Fort Stanwix 


Historic Furnishing Report 


1. Thomas Gage Papers. William L. Clements 
Library, University of Michigan, Gage to Johnson, Feb. 
1, 1759; ibid., Gage to Massey, Nov. 12, 1759. 

2. Clarence Edion Carter, ed.. The Correspondence 
of General Thomas Gage with the Secretaries of State 
1763-1775, 2 vols. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 
1931), 1:141. 

3. Philip Schuyler Papers, New York Public Library, 
Caldwell to Schuyler, June 27, 1776; ibid., Schuyler to 
Committee of Tryon County, July 1, 1776. 

4. Thomas Gage Papers, Gage to Campbell, May 13, 

5. Jonathan Trumbull, Jr.. Papers, Connecticut His- 
torical Society, Elmore to Trumbull, Jr., Nov. 21. 1776. 

6. Horatio Gates Papers, New-York Historical Society, 
Schuyler to Gates, Oct. 3, 1776. 

7. Peter Gansevoort, Jr., Military Papers. New York 
Public Library, Gansevoort to Van Shaick, May 5, 1777; 
ibid., Gansevoort to Schuyler, ca. May 1777. 

8. Henry Glen Letter Book 1776-80, New York State 
Library, Schuyler to Morgan, June 19, 1777; Schuyler 
Papers, Schuyler to Washington, June 30, 1777. 

Chapter I 

1. Almond W. Lauber, comp., Orderly Books of the 
Fourth New York Regiment, 1778-1783 by Samuel 
Tallmadge and others with Diaries of Samuel Tallmadge, 
1780-1782 and John Burr, 1779-1782, (Albany: The 
University of the State of New York, 1932), p. 545 
(hereafter cited as Orderly Books of the Fourth New 
York Regiment). 

2. Thomas Gage Papers, Gage to Amherst, Feb. 18, 

3. Horatio Gates Papers, Orderly Book, July 26, 

4. Philip Schuyler Papers, Schuyler to Washington, 
ca. Aug. 1776. 

5. Ibid., Schuyler to Lewis, June 6, 1777. 

6. Peter Gansevoort, Jr., Military Papers. Gansevoort 
id Schuyler, July 3, 1777. 

7. Philip Schuyler Papers, Schuyler to Congress. July 
5. 1777; ibid., Dayton to Schuyler, Sept. 4. 1776: Philip 
Schuyler Orderly Book. American Antiquarian Society. 
Lansing to Lewis. July 8, 1777; ibid., Lansing to Cuyler. 
July 10. 1777; ibid., Schuyler to Gansevoort. July 10. 
1777. Schuyler complained to Congress that great sickness 
prevailed in the Army as a result of relying too much on 
fresh meat and not enough on salted meat. He noted that 
there was practically no salted meat in the Northern 
Department, and the little that was available was retained 
for scouting parties only. The problem, therefore, was 
not just common to Fort Stanwix. but was present at all 
posts in the Northern Department. Sec Schuyler Papers. 
Schuyler to Congress. Aug. 8. 1777. 

8. Philip Schuyler Papers, Schuvler to Congress, 
Aug. 8. 1777. 

9. Schuyler complained that it was impossible to 
obtain much fresh beef because of high prices. See 
Schuyler Papers, Schuyler to Trumbull. June 29, 1777. 

10. Thomas Gates Papers. Willett to Gates, Sept. 22, 

11. Peter Gansevoort, Jr.. Military Papers. Cuyler to 
Gansevoort, Nov. 28, 1777. 

12. Ihid., Gansevoort to Gates, Dec. 12. 1777. 

13. "A Monthly Return of the State of the Garrison 
Fort Schyler fsic] May 1st. 1778." Queens Borough Public 
Library, Jamaica, N.Y. 

14. Philip Schuyler Papers. "Return of Provisions 
under care of John Hansen. Esqr. A D Corny Issues at 
Ft. Schuyler on 21st Day June 1778." 

15. This number consisted of 402 men of the 3rd 
New York Battalion. 32 men of the artillery detachment, 
and 17 civilians, who were listed as artificers. See "A 
Monthly Return of the State of the Garrison at Fort 
Schyler [sic] May 1st. 1778." 

16. Lauber, Orderly Books of the Fourth New York 
Regiment, p. 549. 

17. Thomas Gage Papers. Gage to Amherst. August 
21. 1759. 

18. Peter Gansevoort. Jr.. Military Papers. Gansevoort 
to Gates, May 23, 1777. 

19. Miscellaneous American Revolution. New York 
State Library. Order signed by Col. P. Gansevoort. May 
26. 1777. 

20. Philip Schuyler Papers. Schuyler to Dayton. Aug. 
3, 1776. 

21. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book. New-York' 
Historical Society. Oct. 22. 1777; ibid., Feb. 23, 1778. 

22. Henry Glen Papers. 1770-1801. New York. 
Public Library, Glen to Fonda, ca. Nov. 1777; Peter 
Gansevoort. Jr.. Military Papers, a small booklet showing 
various accounts. 

23. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book. Feb. 7. 1778. 

24. Ibid.. Sept. 23. 1777. 

25. Peter Gansevoort, Jr.. Military Papers. Ganse 
voort to Caty Van Schaik, June 1, 1777. 

26. Ibid., Gansevoort to Gansevoort. Dec. 16. 1777 

27. Philip Schuyler Papers. Schuyler to Bleeker. Aug> 
19. 1775. 

28. Peter Gansevoort, Jr., Military Papers. Willett t' 
(iatisevoort. Apr. 20. 1778; Miscellaneous America' 
Revolution (Wendell Family Papers), Lendder to Brad 
Apr. 6. 1779. 

29. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book, June 24. 177' 

30. William Colbraith, "Journal of the most materii 
occurrences preceding the Siege of Fort Schuyler (former] 
Fort Stanwix) with an account of the siege, etc.." negath 
photostat. New York Public Library, Aug. 2. 1777. (hen- 
after cited as Colbraith. "Journal"). 

31. "Gansevoort Map of Fort Stanwix." New Yott 
Public Library, copy in John F. Luzader, "The Constru - 
tion and Military History of Fort Stanwix." (Washingto 

Historic Furnishing 115 

D.C.: Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation, 
National Park Service, 1969), Appendix IX. 

32. Journal of Ebeneezer Elmer, New Jersey Histori- 
cal Society, Dunham to Elmer, Aug. 23, 1776. 

33. Peter Gansevoort, Jr., Military Papers, Gansevoort 
to Gansevoort, June 13, 1777. 

34. Ibid., Glen to Gansevoort, Dec. 5. 1777. 

35. Journal of Ebeneezer Elmer, Nov. 19. 1776; 
United States Revolution Collection, "Inventory of all 
Stores Belonging to the General Hospital at Albany etc 
March 29th 1777," American Antiquarian Society. 

36. Philip Schuyler Papers, Schuyler to Congress. 
July 5, 1777. 

37. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book, Apr. 16, 1778. 

Chapter II 

1. James Abercromby Papers. Huntington Library, 
Stanwix to Abercromby, Sept. 7, 1758, cited in Luzader. 
"Construction and Military History of Fort Stanwix," pp. 
28-29; James Abercromby Papers, Stanwix to Aber- 
cromby, Sept. 18, 1758, cited in Orville W. Carroll's 
personal research file on Fort Stanwix, Minute Man 
National Historical Park, Concord. Mass. 

2. Thomas Gage Papers, Gage to Amherst, Aug. 
21. 1759. 

3. Newton D. Mereness, ed.. "Journal of An Officer 
Who Travelled in America and the West Indies in 1764 
and 1765." Travels in the American Colonics (New 
York: Macmillan Company, 1916), p. 369. 

4. Philip Schuyler Papers. Schuyler to Dayton, Aug. 
8, 1776. 

5. Ibid., General Orders. Dec. 30. 1776. 

6. Ibid., Schuyler to Washington, June 30, 1777: 
Henry Glen Letter Book, 1776-80, Schuyler to Morgan, 
June 19, 1777; Diary of Jonathan Lawrence, May 27- 
lune 28, 1777, New York State Library. 

7. Philip Schuyler's Orderly Book, Schuyler to 
jansevoort, July 10, 1777; Colbraith, "Journal," July 
tO, 1777. 

8. Ibid., Aug. 23, 1777. 

9. State of New York Public Papers of George 
Clinton, 10 vols. (Albany: State of New York, 1900), 
1:510; "A Monthly Return of the State of the Garrison 
=brt Schyler [sic] May 1st 1778." 

10. Ibid. 

11. Thomas Gates Papers, "A Return of Ordnance 
; Stores wanted in the Northern Department," Aug. 19, 
'■ 111. 

12. Peter Gansevoort, Jr., Military Papers, Ganse- 
< oort, June 13. 1777; Lee Hanson and Dick Ping Hsu. 
> Casemates and Cannonballs: Archeological Investigations 

t Fort Stanwix. 1758-1781," 1:128 Fort Stanwix Archeol- 

!igical Project (New York District, 1973). 
13. Philip Schuyler's Orderly Book, Lansing to 
-ewis. July 8, 1777; "A Monthly Return of the State 
f the Garrison Fort Schyler [sic] May 1st 1778." 

14. State of New York, New York In the Revolution 
Albany: J. B. Lyon Company. 1904). p. 31. 

15. Marinus Willed Miscellaneous MSS.. New-York 
listorical Society Apr. 1, 1778. 

16. Philip Schuyler Papers, "An Estimate of Military 
i tores. Provisions etc. to be sent to Albany," Schuyler to 

few York Provincial Congress, July 3, 1775. 

17. Horatio Gates Papers, "A General Return of 
1 'rdnance and Stores at Ticonderoga. Mount Inde- 
lendence . . . ," July 4. 1778. 

18. Philip Schuyler Papers, Schuyler to Washington, 
July 6, 1777. 

19. Horatio Gates Papers, "A Return of Ordnance 
Stores wanted in the Northern Department," Aug. 19, 

20. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book, July 19, 1777. 

21. Memorandum, Lee H. Hanson, Jr., to Director, 
New York District. National Park Service, June 1, 1972, 
copy filed in Denver Service Center, NPS, under A2615. 

22. Marinus Willett's "Narrative," cited in John 
Albert Scott, Fort Stanwix (Fort Schuyler) and Oriskany 
(Rome, N.Y.: Rome Sentinel, 1927), p. 243. 

23. Memorandum, Lee H. Hanson, June 1, 1972. 

24. Lauber, Orderly Books of The Fourth New 
York Regiment, p. 583. 

25. State of New York, New York In the Revolution, 
pp. 13, 31. 

26. Miscellaneous American Revolution, Colin Camp- 
bell's "Account of Disbursements Fort Stanwix 1st June 
1759"; Journal of Ebenezer Elmer, Oct. 8. 1776. 

27. Ibid., Sept. 10, 1776; Peter Gansevoort, Jr., 
Military Papers, Willett to Gansevoort, Apr. 20, 1778. 

28. State of New York, New York in the Revolution. 

Chapter III 

1. Philip Schuyler Papers, Dayton to Schuyler, Aug. 
30, 1776. 

2. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book, Oct. 12, 1777. 

3. John Lamb Papers, New-York Historical Society, 
Willett to Lamb, Feb. 24, 1778; Miscellaneous American 
Revolution, Van Schaik to Van Dyck, May 7, 1780; 
Lauber, Orderly Books of The Fourth New York Regiment, 
p. 559. 

4. Peter Gansevoort. Jr., Military Papers, Willett to 
Gansevoort, Apr. 20, 1778. 

5. Orderly Books of The Fourth New York Regiment, 
p. 549. 

6. It may be of interest that while this letter indicated 
that coats and shirts were to be shipped, it also revealed 
that such was not the case with shoes. See Horatio Gates 
Papers, Mease to Gates, Aug. 21, 1777. 

7. Miscellaneous American Revolution, "An Estimate 
of the Average Price in December 1778 of the different 
Articles of Clothing allowed the Soldiery by the Act of 
Congress, September 6th 1777." 

8. Ibid., "Resolution of Congress of the Clothing 
Department," June 18, 1781. 

9. Peter Gansevoort, Jr., Military Papers, Gansevoort 
to Gansevoort, August 29, 1778. 

10. Ibid., Swartwout to Gansevoort, Aug. 29, 1778. 

11. Fredrick P. Todd, Cornwall-on-Hudson N.Y., to 
author, Apr. 22, 1974, in author's file. 

12. Historical data on Fort Stanwix collected by 
Orville W. Carroll. Denver Service Center, National Park 
Service. Mr. Frederick P. Todd is fully convinced that 
the militia wore no uniforms. See letter to author, Apr. 
22. 1974. 

13. Lauber, Orderly Books of the Fourth New York 
Regiment, p. 556. 

14. Philip Schuyler Papers, Schuyler to Elmore, 
Jan. 5, 1777. 

15. V. Dyck to Van Schaik, Apr. 17, 1780. furnished 
by Lee Hanson. Archeologist, NPS. 

16. Robbins Family Papers, Sterling Memorial 
Library. Yale University, Journal of the Rev. Ammi R 
Robbins: A Chaplain In the American Army In The 

1 16 Fort Stanwix 

Northern Campaign of 1776 (New Haven: Printed by 
B. L. Hamlen, 1850). 

Chapter IV 

1. Philip Schuyler Papers, Schuyler to Congress. 
Nov. 19, 1776. 

2. Ibid., Schuyler to Elmore, Jan. 5. 1777; Marinus 
Willett's Orderly Book, Apr. 23, 1778. 

3. Philip Schuyler Papers, Hansen to Schuyler Dec. 
30, 1776. In a document dated Jan. 31. 1777, mention is 
made of a "store where Mr. John Hansen has the disposal 
of Indian Goods." The room set aside for this purpose 
was probably a lean-to connected to the store, a building 
standing next to the guardhouse. See ibid., certificate 
signed by John Post et al., Jan. 31, 1777, with letter, 
Hansen to Schuyler, Feb. 1, 1777. 

4. Journal of Ebeneezer Elmer, July 11. 1776. 

5. Philip Schuyler Papers, Schuyler to Congress, Jan. 
25, 1777. 

6. Ibid., Schuyler to Livingston, Feb. 7. 1777. 

7. Miscellaneous American Revolution, Order of 
Colonel Gansevoort, May 23, 1777. 

Chapter V 

1. Philip Schuyler Papers, Schuyler to Washington. 
Aug. 16. 1776. On July 24. 1777, Willett made reference 
in his Orderly Book to cattle belonging to the garrison. 

2. Marinus Willett Miscellaneous MSS., Cuyler to 
Willett, Sept. 20, 1777. 

3. Peter Gansevoort, Jr., Military Papers, Cuyler to 
Gansevoort, Nov. 28, 1777. 

4. "John Barr's Diary," Dec. 4. 1780, in Lauber, 
Orderly Hooks of The Fourth New York Regiment, p. 

5. Fort Schuyler Miscellaneous MSS., New-York 
Historical Society, "Plan for the relief and provisioning 
of Fort Schuyler." ca. 1780. 

6. Lauber, Orderly Hooks of the Fourth New York 
Regiment, p. 553. 

7. Peter Gansevoort, Jr.. Military Papers. Gansevoort 
to Gates, Dec. 12, 1777. 

8. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book. Sept. 23. 1777. 

9. Ibid., Apr. 5, 1778. 

10. Mereness, "Journal of An Officer Who Travelled 
in America and the West Indies in 1764 and 1765." p. 369. 

I I. Horatio Gates Papers. Schuyler to Gates, Oct. 3. 

12. Peter Gansevoort, Jr., Military Papers. Gansevoort 
to Gates, May 2.3, 1777. 

13. William Willett, cd.. A Narrative of the Military 
Actions <<i Colonel Marinas Willett (New York, 1831). 
p. 195. 

Chapter VI 

l It may help one to understand a little about the 
kinds of tools employed at Fori Stanwix bj learning what 
kinds of artificers, both military and civilian, were em- 
ployed there. In early 1778 there were 15 carpenters, 6 
sawyers. 12 brickmakers, 4 colliers. 2 coopers. 2 gardners, 

2 blacksmiths, and 2 armorers. See "A Monthly Return of 
the State of the Garrison Fort Schuyler May 1st 1778." 

2. Miscellaneous American Revolution, Schuyler to 
Committees in Albany et al.. July 14, 1776; ibid., Schuyler 
to Gansevoort, Oct. 27, 1776. 

3. "A Monthly Return of the State of the Garrison 
Fort Schuyler May 1st 1778." 

4. Miscellaneous American Revolution. "Capt. Baker's 
Return of Camp Equipage." n.d.: Philip Schuyler Papers, 
"An Estimate of Military Stores, Provisions etc. to be 
sent to Albany," enclosed with letter, Schuyler to N. Y. 
Provincial Congress, July 3. 1775; Gates Papers, "A 
General Return of Ordnance and Stores at Ticonderoga. 
Mount Independence . . . ," July 4. 1777. 

5. Peter Gansevoort, Jr., Military Papers, Gansevoort 
to Schuyler, June 15, 1777. 

6. Charles M. Stotz. Drums in the Forest (1958), 
p. 106. 

7. Philip Schuyler Papers. Schuyler to Lewis. Dec. 17, 
1776. These 2 items frequently appeared in the returns of 
post commissaries. See Miscellaneous American Revolu- 
tion. "Return of Barrack Bedding and furniture etc at 
Oswegatchie and Fort Wm. Augustus 25 Sept 1767"; 
ibid., Capt. Baker's Return of Camp Equipage; ibid! 
"Return of Barrack Bedding and Furniture etc. at 
Oswegatchi and Fort William Augustus 25th March 1768." 

8. Marinus Willett Miscellaneous MSS.. Van Renselaer 
to Willett, Apr. 1, 1778. 

9. Hanson and Hsu, "Casemates and Cannonballs." 

10. Philip Schuyler Papers. Schuyler to Lewis. Nov. 
9. 1776. 

11. Stotz. Drams in the Forest, p. 106. 

12. Miscellaneous American Revolution. "Return of 
Barrack Bedding and Furniture etc at Oswegatchie and 
Fort Wm. Augustus 25 Sept. 1767." 

13. Ibid., "Return of Barrack Bedding and Furniture 
etc at Oswagatchi and Fort William Augustus 25th 
March 1768." 

14. State of New York. New York in The Revolution 
p. 81. 

15. Ibid., p. 47. 

16. Peter Gansevoort. Jr.. Military Papers. Gansevoor' 
to Gansevoort, Mav 17, 1777. 

Chapter VII 

1. Orville W. Carroll. Historic Structure Report. Foi 
Stanwix Architectural Data Section (Denver Servic 
( enter: NPS, 1973). pp. 61-62. 

2. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book. Aug. 1. 1777. 

3. Ibid. 

4. Carroll. Fort Stanwix, p. 41. 

5. Colbraith, "Journal." Aug. 23. 1777. 

6. [bid., Aug. 2. 1777. 

7. "A Monthly Return of the State of the Garrisc I 
I mt Schyler [sic] May 1st 1778"; State of Nev. Yoi 
Public Papers of George Clinton. 3:510. 

8. "A Sketch of the siege of Fort Schuyler," ly 
Frances dc Fleury. cited in Luzader. "Construction and 
Military Histor) of Fori Stanwix," Appendix VIII. 

9. Lauber. Orderly Hooks of the Fourth New )',>>• 
Regiment. Nov. 23, IS^O p. 541. 

10. Carroll, Fort Stanwix. p. 117. 

11. Marinus Willett's Ouleih Hook. Maj 1 <. 1771 

12. lauber. Orderly Hooks of the Fourth New )'< ' 
Regiment, p. 556. 

Historic Furnishing 117 

13. Carroll. Fort Stanwix, p. 118. 

14. "Hobbies: The Magazine for Collectors," cited in 
Carroll, Fort Stanwix, pp. 117. 158-59. 

15. Colbraith, "Journal." Aug. 11, 1777. 

16. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book, Aug. II, 1777. 

17. Rome Directory, 1857, p. 31, cited in Carroll. 
Fort Stanwix, pp. 125, 162-3. 

18. John F. I.uzader to Orville W. Carroll, Jan. 1971. 
in Carroll's research file, "Glossary, Fort Stanwix," 
Minute Man National Historical Park. Concord, Mass. 

19. Journal of Ebeneezer Elmer, July 3, 1776. 

20. Carroll, Fort Stanwix, p. 126. 

22. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book. Dec. 2, 1777. 

23. Lauber, Orderly Books of the Fourth New York 
IRegiment, p. 551. 

24. Colbraith, "Journal," Aug. 21. 1777. 

25. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book. Mar. 10, 1778. 

26. Edmund B. O'Callaghan. The Documentary His- 
tory of the State of New York, 4 vols. (Albany. 1850), 
II. p. 526. 

27. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book, Jan. 3. 1778; 
"Journal of Samuel Tallmadge," in Lauber. Orderly Book.\ 
of the Fourth New York Regiment, Feb. 26, 1781. p. 744; 
Lauber. Orderly Book of the Fourth New York Regiment, 
Jan. 22. 1781. p. 559; Journal of Ebeneezer Elmer, Oct. 
4, 1776. 

28. Lauber, Orderly Book of the Fourth New York 
Regiment, Nov. 24, 1780, p. 542. 

29. Colbraith, "Journal," Aug. 3, 4, and 10. 1777: 
Marinus Willett's Orderly Book. Sept. 28, 1777. 

30. Philip Schuyler Papers. Glen to Schuyler, July 
8, 1776. 

31. Colbraith, "Journal," Aug. 9, 1777. 

32. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book, Mar. 15. 1778. 

33. Peter Gansevoort. Jr., Military Papers, Gansevoort 
'to Gates, May 23, 1777. 

34. Willett, A Narrative of the Military Actions of 
Colonel Marinus Willett, p. 195. 

35. Willett's Orderly Book, Sept. 28, 1777. 

36. Ibid., Jan. 3, 1778; Lauber, Orderly Book of the 
Fourth New York Regiment, p. 559. 

37. "Journal of Samuel Tallmadge." Feb. 26, 27, 28. 
and Mar. 13, 1781, in Lauber, Orderly Books of the 
Fourth New York Regiment, pp. 744-46. 

38. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book, Sept. 22. 1777. 

39. Ibid., Feb. 6, 1778. 

40. Journal of Ebeneezer Elmer, Aug. 29, 1776; 
ibid., Oct. 8. 1776. 

41. Ibid., Oct. 10, 11. and 12. 1776. In later entries 
Elmer notes that he occupied a room, presumably in the 
barracks or casemates, an indication that some construction 
tiad been completed. See ibid., and also Oct. 14. 17. and 
18. 1776. 

42. Philip Schuyler Papers. Schuyler to Congress. 
Sept. 8. 1776; ibid., Schuyler to Elmore. Nov. 12. 1776. 

43. Ibid., passim. 

44. Carroll, Fort Stanwix, pp. 86-90. 

45. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book. Sept. 17. 1777. 

46. Ibid., Sept. 20, 1777. 

47. Carroll, Fort Stanwix, pp. 63-6. 

48. Luzader, "Construction and Military History of 
^ort Stanwix," pp. 110-18; Luzader. "The 'Stars and 
>tripes' at Fort Stanwix: A Summary of the Evidence." 
>ee Appendix A. 

49. Luzader. "Construction and Military History of 
| -ort Stanwix." Appendix IX. 

50. Journal of Ebeneezer Elmer. Oct. 5. 1776. 

51. Philip Schuyler Papers. "The Proceedings of a 

Court of Enquiry held at Fort Schuyler February 28, 
1777. . . ." 

52. Colbraith. "Journal". Aug. 22. 1777. 

53. Colbraith, "Journal," Aug. 9, 1777. 

54. Journal of Ebeneezer Elmer, Dec. 5. 1776. 

55. On Mar. 13, 1778, six men were directed to 
collect cedar wood in order to make pails for the garrison. 
Pails had many uses and were mostly found in quarters. 
See Marinus Willett's Orderly Book, Mar. 13, 1778. 

56. Journal of Ebeneezer Elmer, Nov. 19. 1776. 

57. United States Revolution Collection, "Inventory 
of all Stores Belonging to the General Hospital at Albany 
etc. March 29th 1777." 

58. Philip Schuyler Papers, Schuyler to Livingston. 
Nov. 2, 1776; ibid., Extract of Minutes by John M. 
Nelson. Sec. Committee to Safety for State of N.Y., 
Nov. 13, 1776. 

59. Willett, A Narrative of the Military Actions of 
Colonel Marinus Willett, p. 49; Hanson and Hsu. 
"Casemates and Cannonballs," 1:53. 

60. "Plan of Fort Stanwix Built at Oneida Station by 
Provincial Troops in 1758." British Museum. Crown 
Collection CXXI. 99, copy in Library of Congress, cited 
in Luzader, "Construction and Military History of Fort 
Stanwix," Appendix III. 

61. Horatio Gates Papers, "A Return of Ordnance 
Stores wanted in the Northern Department. Albany, N.Y. 
by Eben Stevens, Commandant of Aitillery." 

62. Philip Schuyler Papers. Trumbull to Varick, July 
29, 1776. 

63. Hanson and Hsu. "Casemates and Cannonballs," 

64. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book, Dec. 4, 1777; 
Lauber, Orderly Books of the Fourth New York Regi- 
ment, p. 543. 

65. Lauber. Orderly Books of the Fourth New York 
Regiment, p. 577. 

66. Scott, Fort Stanwix (Fort Schuyler) and Oriskany, 
p. 100. 

67. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book, June 5, 1777; 
ibid., June 9. 1777; ibid., June 12, 1777; ibid., March 22. 
1778; "Gansevoort Map of Fort Stanwix," cited in Luzader 
"Construction and Military History of Fort Stanwix," 
Appendix II. 

68. For a detailed description of this building, see 
Carroll, Fort Stanwix, pp. 78-79; A return of the main 
guard at Fort Stanwix in Nov. 1778 noted that there were 
2 prisoners in confinement and a guard consisting of 1 
subaltern, 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, 2 drum and fife, and 
39 privates. There were also 13 daytime sentinals and 12 
nighttime sentinals. See Philip Schuyler Papers. "Report 
of Main Guard. November 1, 1778." 

69. Philip Schuyler Papers. "Report of Main Guard. 
November 1. 1778."; Marinus Willett's Orderly Book. 
March 22. 1778; State of New York. Public Papers of 
George Clinton, 4:131-33. 

70. Lauber, Orderly Books of the Fourth New York 
Regiment, p. 577. 

71. Journal of Ebeneezer Elmer. June 14. 1776: 
ibid., June 15. 1776. 

72. Marinus Willet's Orderly Book, Mar. 6. 1777. 

73. Ibid., May 7. 1777. 

74. The 6 drawings are the McGraw powder horn. 
1777: De Witt powder horn. 1778: Cornelius Chatfield 
power horn. 1780; De Fleury map; Gransevoort map; and 
the map accompanying Willett's narrative of 1831, all cited 
in Carroll. Fort Stanwix, p. 80. fig. 135. One written 
reference appears in Scott, p. 95 and another on the 
Gansevoort map. also cited in Carroll, p. 80, fig. 136. 

1 18 Fort Stanwix 

75. Carroll. Fort Stanwix, p. 81. 

76. Gansevoort's field bed. which he might have 
used at Fort Stanwix, is preserved at the Smithsonian 
Institution. See letter, Lee Hanson, Fort Stanwix, N. M., 
to Manager. Historic Preservation Team. Denver Service 
Center, NPS. May 23, 1974. 

77. Peter Gansevoort. Jr., Military Papers. Gan- 
sevoort to Gansevoort, May 17, 1777. 

78. Ibid., Gansevoort to Gansevoort, June 2. 1777. 

79. Willett's "Narrative." MSS., cited in Luzader. 
"Construction and Military History of Fort Stanwix," pp. 

80. Philip Schuyler Papers. Schuyler to Flmore, 
January 5, 1777. 

8 1 . Revolutionary War Military Instructions for 
Soldiers n.d., pp. 81, 83, owned by the New Haven Colony 
Historical Society. 

82. Carroll, Fort Stanwix, pp. 36-37. 

83. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book, Feb. 24, 1778. 

84. Ibid., Nov. 8, 1777: ibid., Dec. 31, 1777. 

85. Philip Schuyler Papers, Schuyler to Lewis, 
November 9. 1776. 

86. Stotz, Drums in the Forest, p. 106. 

87. State of New York. New York In the Revolution, 

88. Ibid., p. 47. 

89. Miscellaneous American Revolution, "Return of 
Barrack Bedding and Furniture etc at Oswegatchie and 
Fort William Augustus 25 Sept. 1767." 

90. Peter Gansevoort. Jr., Military Papers. Gensevoort 
to Schuyler, June 15, 1777. 

91. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book. Mar. 13. 1778. 

92. Ibid., Sept. 15. 1777; ibid., May 21. 1778. 

93. Photograph. Revolutionary War fireplace. Hut 34. 
Hut Camp of 17th Regiment of Foot, prior to recon- 
struction (negative 5486), New-York Historical Society: 
photograph, fireplace in reconstructed military hut, 
Dyckman House Park (negative 2644), New-York His- 
torical Society, see Illustrations Nos. 1 and 2. 

94. Marinus Willett's Orderly Book, Aug. 11. 1777. 

95. Journal of Fbeneezer Elmer, Oct. 17. 1776; ibid., 
Oct. 18, 1776. 

96. "John Ban's Diary." Nov. 24, 1780. in Lauber, 
Orderly Books of the Fourth New York Regiment, p. 843. 

97. Lauber. Orderly Books of the Fourth New York 
Reg! merit, Dec. 2. 1780. p. 547. 

98. State of New York. New York In the Revolution, 
2:81; Lauber, Orderly Books of the Fourth New York 
Regiment, pp. 83-84. 

99. Journal of Ebeneezer Elmer. Sept. 12. 1776. 

100. Ibid., Oct. 14. 1776. 

101. "John Barr's Diary." Dec. 25. 1780. in Lauber. 
Orderly Books of the Fourth New York Regiment, p. 846. 

102. Ibid., Jan. 1. 1781. p. 848. 

103. Philip Schuyler Papers. Hansen to Schuyler. 
January 28. 1777. 

104. Hanson and Hsu. "Casemates and Cannonballs," 

105. Colbraith. "Journal." Aug. 9. 1777. 

106. Dr. John Cotter to Manager. Historic Preserva- 
tion Team, subject: Report for July 1972 Northeast 
Region, n.d.. in NPS files. 

107. Philip Schuyler Papers, Van Rensselaer to Fitz, 
October 6. 1775. 

108. Hanson and Hsu. "Casemates and Cannonballs." 
1:147. 151. 

109. John Muller. I Treatise Containing the Ele- 
mentary Part of Fortification. Regular and Irregular 

(London: Printed for J. Nourse. 1746), p. 214, reprinted 
by Museum Restoration Service. Ottawa, 1968. 

110. Carroll. Fort Stanwix. p. 49. 

111. Hanson and Hsu. "Casemates and Cannonballs," 

112. "John Barr's Diary," Nov. 24, 1780, in Lauber, 
Orderly Books of the Fourth New York Regiment, p. 843. 

113. Luzader. "Construction and Military History of 
Fort Stanwix," p. 43. 

114. Ibid. 


1. Ltr.. Oswald . Backus to Captain Gustave Villant. 
U.S. Army Historical Staff 10 February, 1927, files of the 
Office of the Chief of Military History, Ft. McNair, 
Washington. D.C. 

2. James Weise, Swartwout Chronicle (1899). 214. 

3. The New Lamed History, 1923 edition, IV, 3109. 
Swartwout did not leave a journal and his letter to 
Gansevoort concerning the cloak does not discuss the 
flag design. 

4. John Albert Scott, Fort Stanwix (Fort Schuyler) 
and Oriskany (Rome. 1927), 175. 

5. Journal of the Continental Congress, Monday, 
June 14. 1777. 

6. James Thacher, Military Journal, (Boston, 1823). 

7. Pennsylvania Evening Post, Philadelphia, Vol III, 
Number 398. 453. 

8. Milo M. Qualife, Melvin J. Weig, Roy E. Apple- 
man. The History of the United States Flag (Philadelphia. 
1966), 30. 

9. William Colbrath. "Journal of the most material 
occurences preceding the Siege of Fort Schuyler (formerly 
Fort Stanwix) with an account of the siege, etc.," micro- 
film. New York Public Library. 

10. The Remembrances; or, Impartial Repository of 
Public Events For the Year 1777 (London 1778), 448-49; 
ltr. Willed to Jonathan Trumbull. Jr.. August 11, 1777; 
The Independent Chronicle and Universal Advertiser, 
(Boston), August 28, 1777; Marinus Willett. "Orderly 
Book." New York Public Library. 

11. Marinus Willett. "Narrative," MSS., Tomlinson 
Collection. New York Public Library. 

12. William Willett. ed., A Narrative of the Military 
Actions of Colonel Marinus Willett (New York, 1831), 

13. Willett. "Narrative." 

14. Revolutionary Service Record. John McGraWj 
National Archives. 

15. Washington Papers. Library of Congress, ltr. 
Peters to Washington. May 10. 1779. 

16. Ibid, ltr. Peters to Washington. September. P79 

17. "Colonel [Daniel] Claus' Account of the Battle 
of Oriskany and the Defeat of St. Leger's expedition,' 
New York State Library; Colonial Office Records. Publii 
Records Officer. London: Hessi-Hanan Urkunden am 
Brifen, copies of Hessi-Hanan documents in possession o 
Dr. Joachin Lischer. Stadtarchivist. Frankfurt am Main 
Hessische Stratsarchiv. Marburg am Lahn. 

18. William Digby. Journal. MSS. British Museum 
Thomas Anburcy. Travels Through the Interior Paris o 

tmerit a. 1 1 ondon, 1789). 


Primary Sources 

Manuscript Materials 

Albany, New York. New York State Library. Henry 

Glen Letter Book 1776-80. 
. New York State Library. Diary of Jonathan 

Lawrence, May 27-June 28, 1777 [by Jonathan 

. New York State Library, Miscellaneous 

American Revolution. 
Ann Arbor, Mich. William L. Clements Library, 

University of Michigan. Thomas Gage Papers. 
Hartford, Conn. Connecticut Historical Society. 

Jonathan Trumbull, Jr., Papers. 
Jamaica, New York. Queens Borough Public Library. 

"Monthly Return of the State of the Garrison 

Fort Schyler [sic] May 1st, 1778." 
Newark, New Jersey. New Jersey Historical Society. 

"Journal of Ebeneezer Elmer" fby Ebeneezer 

^Jew Haven, Conn. Sterling Memorial Library. Yale 

University. Robbins Family Papers, 
^ew York City, New York. New-York Historical 

Society. Horatio Gates Papers. 
New-York Historical Society. Fort Schuyler 

Miscellaneous Manuscripts. 
. New-York Historical Society. John Lamb 

New-York Historical Society. Marinus 

Willett Miscellaneous Manuscripts. 
- . New-York Historical Society. Marinus 

Willett Orderly Book. 
New York Public Library. "Journal of the 

most material occurrences preceding the Siege of 

Fort Schuyler (formerly Fort Stanwix) with an 

account of the siege, etc." [by William Colbraith]. 

negative photostat. 

. New York Public Library. Peter Gansevoort, 

Jr., Military Papers. 

New York Public Library. Henry Glen 

Papers 1770-1801. 

_. New York Public Library. Philip Schuyler 
Worcester, Mass. American Antiquarian Society. 
Philip Schuyler Orderly Book. 

. American Antiquarian Society. United States 
Revolution Collection. 

Printed Sources 

Carter, Clarence Edion, ed. The Correspondence of 
General Thomas Gage with the Secretaries of 
State 1763-1775. 2 vols. New Haven: Yale 
University Press, 1931. 

I.auber, Almon W., comp. Orderly Books of The 
Fourth New York Regiment, 1778-1780 The 
Second New York Regiment, 1780-1783 by 
Samuel Tallmadge and Others with Diaries of 
Samuel Tallmadge, 1780-1782. Albany: The 
University of the State of New York, 1932. 

Mereness, Newton D., ed. Travels in the American 
Colonies. New York: Macmillan Company, 1916. 

O'Callaghan, Edmund B., and Fernow, Berthold, ed. 
Documents Relating to the Colonial History of 
the State of New York. 10 vols. Albany: Weed, 
Parsons and Co., 1854. 

O'Callaghan, Edmund B., The Documentary History 
of the State of New York. 4 vols. Albany, 1851. 

State of New York. New York In the Revolution. 
J. B. Lyon Company, 1904, 

. Public Papers of George Clinton. 10 vols. 

Albany: State of New York, 1900. 

Willett, William, ed. A Narrative of the Military 
Actions of Colonel Marinus Willett. 1831. Re- 
print. New York: Arno Press, 1969. 


I 20 Fort Stanvvix 

Secondary Sources 


Scott, John Albert. Fort Stanwix (Fort Schuyler) and 
Oriskany. Rome, New York: Rome Sentinel, 

Stotz, Charles M. Drums in the Forest. 1958. 

National Park Service Studies 

Carroll, Orville W. Historic Structure Report, Fort 
Stanwix, Architectural Data Section. Denver 
Service Center, 1973. 

Hanson, Lee and Hsu, Dick Ping, Casemates and 
Cannonhalls: Archeological Investigations at Fort 
Stanwix, 1758-1781 . Fort Stanwix Archeological 
Project. New York District, 1973. 

Luzader, John F. "The Construction and Military 
History of Fort Stanwix." Historic Structure Re- 
port. Washington, D.C.: Office of Archeology and 
Historic Preservation, 1969. 

. "The 'Stars and Stripes' at Fort Stanwix: A 

Summary of The Evidence." typescript. Denver 
Service Center, 1973. 



Orville W. Carroll 

I Summary 122 
It Studies Completed to Date 123 

III Historical Background of Fort Stanwix 125 

IV Proposed Use of the Fort Structures 129 

V Proposed Reconstruction Work with Military Glossary 131 
Illustration: Proposed Use of Buildings 165 
Appendices 166 

A. The Fort Stanwix Historical Center — A Preliminary Report 166 

B. Class C— Cost Estimate 171 

C. Addendum — Lumber Procurement and Preservation 176 
Illustrations 177 

Plan of Fort Stanwise 1758 177 

Plan of Fort Stanwix Built at Onieda Station by Provincial Troops in 1758 178 

Plan of Fort Stanwix, Built at the Onnida Station 1758 179 

Plan of Fort Stanwix 1764 181 

A Sketch of Fort Stanwix 1764 182 

Fort Schuyler, Dec. 25, 1777 182 

James Wilson Powder Horn 183 

Gansevoort Map of Fort Stanwix 184 

Plan of Fort Stanwix 184 

Plan of Fort Stanwix 1 802 1 84 

Plan of Fort Stanwix 1810 185 

Plan of Fort Stanwix 1832 185 

Drawing of Fort Stanwix 1793 186 

Artist's Interpretation of Fort Stanwix 1777 186 

"Sunrise at Fort Stanwix". Aug. 3, 1777 187 

Sketch of Fort Upon Great Island, New Hamphire 187 

Reconstructed Drawbridge, Fort Erie, Ontario 188 

Plan of Fort Edward, N.Y. 189 

Drawing of French Sentry Box 189 
Preliminary Drawings 190 

Site Plan, Fort Stanwix National Monument 190 

Perspective view of Fort Stanwix, 1776-1781 191 

Ground Plan, Fort Stanwix 1758-1781 192 

West-East, South-North Profiles 193 
Notes 1 94 



Fort Stanwix was originally constructed by 
British forces in 1758, during the French and 
Indian wars. Like most of the British fortifications 
it was of timber and earth construction, and always 
required a great deal of repair work in order to 
prevent decay. 

The fort was repaired and remodeled by the 
British troops in 1 764; three years later the garrison 
was withdrawn. When the American troops arrived 
in 1 776, they found only a rotted shell of fortification 
works remaining. 

We have good documentation in the form of 
engineer's drawings for 1758. 1759, and 1764, but 
very little documentation done on a professional 
level for the years following 1776. Drawings were 
completed but seem to have been lost. The in- 
formation on hand is contradictory at times. 

Archeological explorations of the site during 
1970-72 have turned up invaluable evidence re- 
lating to the ground plan of the fort, but fall short 
of providing the needed information to plan the 
structure above ground level. Additional research 
was carried out by the writer and John Luzader, 
N.P.S. historian, in an attempt to find documents 
relating to other Revolutionary war forts. While 
this effort was helpful, it did not produce the great 
reservoir of information anticipated. 

In determining the fort plan the evidence pre- 
sented by the archeologists concerning the location 

and basic shape of the fort features has taken 
precedence. Documentation surviving from the 
letters, orderly books, journals and diaries kept 
during the American occupation of Fort Stanwix, 
1776-1781, has been the secondary source of 
information. Where information is lacking from the 
American occupation, the fort plans drawn by the 
British engineers in 1758, 1759, and 1764 have 
been employed. 

There will still be much conjecture and there- 
fore some possibilities for disagreement regarding 
the appearance of the proposed fort. The current 
plans are to reconstruct the fort using building de- 
tails from several sources: Crown Maps Nos. 
99-103, the McGraw and Wilson powder horns, 
the "Gransevoort Map of Fort Stanwix," and addi- 
tional drawings from other contemporary forts. The 
reconstruction will therefore have log ramparts and 
parapets, surrounded on three sides by a ditch, 
covered way and glacis. Other major features will 
be a log ravelin, a wooden bridge with a draw span, 
an elevated "necessary" or latrine outside the fort 
walls, five free-standing buildings on the parade, 
casemates at the curtain walls, filled bastions having 
three underground bombproofs, and a bakehouse. 

It is hoped that one or more of the three wells, 
the location of the whipping post, and possibly 
other features will be located when grading of the 
parade ground begins. 




A. Architect's Preliminary Report of 1963 

Plans were renewed once again by the citizens 
of Rome, in the early 1960's to reconstruct at least 
a portion of Fort Stanwix. The site was classified 
by Congress as a National Monument in 1935, 
although the original intent of the bill was not to 
rebuild the fort. 

One thrust in this direction was initiated by 
Gilbert Hagerty, curator of the Fort Stanwix 
Museum. In 1963 Mr. Hagerty contacted Charles 
M. Stotz, a practicing architect in Pittsburgh, 
Pennsylvania. Since the early 1940s Mr. Stotz had 
been involved in extensive research on pre- 
revolutionary war forts in western Pennsylvania, 
and in 1947 he was commissioned by the Fort Ligo- 
nier Memorial Foundation to supervise the research 
and planning for the reconstruction of Fort Ligo- 
nier. With this background in military fortifications, 
Mr. Stotz was a likely candidate to choose for con- 
sultation on the proposed reconstruction of Fort 

Messrs. Stotz and Hagerty spent several days 
together traveling through New York State and the 
lower Canadian provinces studying military forts of 
this area. Utilizing this information and the mili- 
tary maps from the "Crown Collection," Stotz and 
Hagerty worked out a preliminary design concept 
for the development of the Fort Stanwix site. Mr. 
Stotz' report, dated November 18, 1963, is included 
in the Appendices of this report. 

B. Archeologist's Report of 1965 

In 1965, the Urban Renewal Agency of Rome 
authorized Col. Duncan Campbell, Director of the 

William Penn Museum at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 
to conduct a spot exploratory study on the site of 
Fort Stanwix to determine the feasibility of carrying 
out a full-scale archeological project. 

The results of Colonel Campbell's efforts can 
be read in two reports: "Archeological Survey Site 
of Fort Stanwix" by J. Duncan Campbell, August 
20, 1965, containing 14 pages of typescript and six 
sheets of drawings; and "Illustrative Report of 1965 
Archeological Explorations at Fort Stanwix," 
having a preface written by John R. Hurley, 
Director, Rome Urban Renewal Agency, dated 
September 17, 1965, and containing eight progress 
photographs and one sheet of drawings. Both 
reports can be seen at the Jervis Library in Rome. 

C. N.P.S. Archeologists' Reports, 1970-73 

A program of full-scale archeological excava- 
tions on the site was begun by the National Park 
Service in July 1970 and continued through 
November 13, 1972. The archeological report was 
published by the National Park Service as No. 14 
in th" series Publications in Archeoloy, by Lee 
Hanson and Dick Ping Hsu. 

D. The Master Plan of 1967 

A Master Plan for Fort Stanwix National 
Monument was developed by the National Park 
Service at the request of the City of Rome in 1964. 
This Master Plan, issued in 8" x IOV2" booklet 
form, was approved on March 14, 1967, by 
Associate Director Howard W. Baker. 


1 24 Fort Stanwix 

Because the Master Plan was prepared prior 
to N.P.S. ownership and before the historical and 
archeological research was completed, its contents 
regarding the fort and its construction features are 
vague and partially inaccurate. Presumably the 
1967 Master Plan will be revised, utilizing all the 
new information gathered since 1967. 

E. The Historian's Report of 1969 

Archival research, concentrating on the story 
of Fort Stanwix (1758-1781), was conducted by 
N.P.S. historian John F. Luzader. 

The results of this research can be read in his 
1 82-page report entitled "The Construction and 
Military History of Fort Stanwix," printed in 
1969 by the Office of Archeology and Historic 
Preservation, N.P.S. 

Included in the text of the report are seven 
contemporary British plans of the fort, two Ameri- 
can drawn plans (post-siege of 1777), and one 
diagram showing the layout of Fort Stanwix in 
August of 1777, as hypothecated by Mr. Luzader 
according to date available to him at the time. 

F. H.A.B.S. Survey of 1970 

In the spring of 1970. the Rome Urban 
Renewal Agency contracted with the Historic 
American Buildings Survey to prepare a historical- 
architectural report entitled "History of the 19th 
Century Urban Complex on the Site of Fort 
Stanwix." This report was researched and written 
by Diana S. Waite of Albany, New York, and was 
submitted in typescript form in June of 1970. 
Photographs included with the text were taken by 
Jack E. Boucher for H.A.B.S. After final editing 
and arrangement of subject matter, the report was 
published in 1972 by the New York State Historic 

the glacis opposite the southwest bastion of the fort 
and, traditionally, the small two-story wing was said 
to have been built around 1796. There were some 
persons interested in saving this part of the house if 
it were actually old. Conclusive documentation was 
not found during Mrs. Waite's research. 

In August 1971 the Urban Renewal Agency 
contracted with Mr. Charles E. Peterson of Phila- 
delphia. Pennsylvania, to investigate the fabric of 
the Empire House in order to determine its date of 
construction. Mr. Peterson examined the structure 
on August 11-12 and found it to date from the 
19th century. His report was mailed to the URA 
and Fort Stanwix NM on August 25, 1971. 

H. Interpretive Development Concept, 1971 

An eight page report was written by Nan V. 
Rickey, Interpretive Planner. N.P.S., for the Eastern 
Service Center, Office of Environmental Planning 
and Design, in March 1971. 

This report, based on the information available 
in 1971, attempts to establish guidelines for the 
future interpretation and use of the site. Continued 
excavation work on the site by the archeologists in 
1972 and additional research into the historical 
documents by several interested persons have culled 
much new data. The guidelines of 1971 will be 
revised to incorporate these findings. 

(■. Further Research on the Empire House 
in 1971 

The Empire House had a reputation for being 
the oldest standing structure in Rome. Il stood on 



A. The British Occupation, 1758-1775 

On July 16, 1758, General Abercromby 
ordered Brig. Gen. John Stanwix to build a "post" 
at the Oneida Carrying Place, according to a plan 
drawn up by Col. James Montresor. 1 

General Stanwix arrived with his troops at the 
Carrying Place shortly after August 1, accompanied 
by at least three engineers — Maj. William Eyre. 
Capt. William Green, and Lt. Thomas Sowers.-' 

The first order of business was for Major 
Eyre to mark out and supervise the construction of 
i an entrenchment surrounding the site of the pro- 
posed post.' 5 These outer fortifications, consisting of 
trenches protected by log breastworks, were later 
dismantled when the fort works were sufficiently 
completed. 4 

Major Eyre and Lt. Sowers left the area 
shortly after the entrenchments were finished, 
leaving Captain Green in charge of constructing 
the new fort. Due to Captain Green's ill health he 
could not fully cope with the situation; thus Lt. 
John Williams was dispatched to the Carrying 
Place by General Abercromby. After Williams' 

' arrival on August 14, he and Capt. Green conferred 
together and revised the Montresor plan to fit the 
existing terrain. Later Lt. Williams "marked out a 
small fort within the/Intrenchment marked out by 
Majr Eyer's. . . . ""' On August 23, 1758, the first 
foundation log for the new fort was laid/' Two 
months later Gen. Stanwix wrote that he expected 
to have the fort completed en barbette before winter 

I set in. ' 

The original fort was laid out in the form of a 
square measuring approximately 220 feet x 220 
feet. Pentagonal bastions with flanks of 36 feet 
and faces of 90 feet were planned off each corner. 
This gave the fort an overall measurement from 

bastion tip to bastion tip of 330 feet. s The initial 
intent of the engineers was to orient the square of 
the fort precisely north-south and east-west. Today 
the fort walls have an inclination of 15° east of 
true north. 

The fort of 1758 was intended to garrison 
400 men in the casemates located under the ter- 
repleins of the curtain walls, while the officers were 
quartered in small houses built on the east half of 
the parade ground. An underground powder maga- 
zine was constructed parallel to the east face of the 
southeast bastion. In this somewhat tenable posi- 
tion, the British army weathered the winter of 

Work on the fort resumed in July 1759 and 
continued until December." Still the fort was not 
completed. Sir William Johnson, writing in 1761, 
stated that "The fort [Stanwix] . . . will require 
another summer to finish it. . . ." 10 In the mean- 
time, the fort was deteriorating and in 1764 condi- 
tions became so bad that an effort was made to 
repair and remodel the works. A total of <£ 140.5.10 
of New York currency was expended for work 
completed between July 1 and December 3 1 , 
1764." Crown Maps Nos. 102 and 103 show the 
extent of repair work accomplished. Some of the 
construction work must have been supervised by 
Lt. George Dernier, an engineer, who signed his 
name to Crown Map No. 103. Demler had been 
ordered to Fort Stanwix in May of 1759 by Col. 
Montresor. '- 

An important change was made to the parade 
ground prior to 1764, which gave the fort a formal 
military air. The loosely arranged officers' houses 
were removed and in their place three buildings 
were erected within ten feet of the casemate walls 
(in the north, east, and west sides of the parade 
ground. These buildings are not identified on the 


I 26 Fort Stanwix 

Crown Maps but were probably a headquarters 
building and two combination storehouse-officers' 
quarters. These buildings scale 20 feet x 120 feet 
off the Crown Maps and are identical in size 
to the east and west barracks found in the recent 
archeological explorations. ' ;t 

In addition to the erection of barracks build- 
ings, three other major changes were made to the 
fort prior to 1764: a ravelin, main bridge, and 
caponiere or covered passageway off the east end 
of the sally port were added. A slight modification 
was also made to the earth embankment along the 
east side of the fort. With a few exceptions, no 
further repairs or alterations were made to the fort 
during the final 12 years of British occupation. 

American troops, under the command of Col. Elias 
Dayton, started immediate repair work on the fort. 
By October 3. the barracks had been partially re- 
built but not finished off on the inside. 1 " Nails, 
boards, and other building materials were in short 
demand and had to be boated up the Mohawk Rivei 
from as far away as Albany. 

Jonathan Lawrence, passing through Fort 
Stanwix on June 8. 1777, found it "... to be a 
palizaded Fort with an Intrenchment round it and 
piqueted round, with six sm[all] Canon and two 
pieses of Field A[rtillcry] to Defend it the Fort 
forming a square with Barrack[s] all around the 
parade which is large a[nd] looked very neat." n 

The Fire of 1774 

In 1774, Fort Stanwix suffered a disastrous 
fire which destroyed the barracks: 

... I hope to be able to go and reside there [Fort 
Stanwix] myself — the people who live on the ground 
are one John Roof, Thomas Mayers, William Cloyne, 
Bartholemew Broadhock — -John Steers and Stephanus 
Delyrod a Frenchmen — who trades there for Major 
Fonda — the Fort is all in ruins, and the barracks by an 
accident last Fall was burnt to the ground, nothing 
now remains — but a Room which the officers use to 
mess in. . . . 14 

B. The American Colonists Take Over 

American troops arrived at Fort Stanwix on 
July 13, 1776, as the result of a rumor that the 
westward passageway through the Mohawk Valley 
was about to be invaded by British troops advancing 
toward Albany. The American plan was to fortify 
and occupy old Fort Stanwix, thereby effecting a 
blockade of the British forces. 

When the American troops arrived, they found 
the fort in poor condition. Lt. Elmer recorded in 
his journal on August 27, 1776: "The ruins of five 
houses and barracks in the inside, built for the 
accomodations of the stores, officers and soldiery. " ,r> 
This description suggests that at least two more 
buildings were erected on the parade ground after 
1764, unless Elmer was referring to the five 
casemates as houses. 

Aided by "artificers of every kind," the 

C. The Fires of 1780 and 1781 

Fort Stanwix was the victim of fires in 1780 
and 1781. The fire of 1780 destroyed the guard- 
house and threatened the barracks before it was 
brought under control. Part of the barracks standing 
next to the guardhouse was torn down by the 
garrison to prevent the fire from spreading. Tht 
next day, according to reports from the com- 
mandant, the barracks had been repaired and th< 
following Saturday a new guardhouse was to bf 
rebuilt. 1S 

A heavy rain, which did considerable damag< 
to the fort, preceded the fire of May 14, 1781. Thi 
fire consumed all the barracks buildings, but th 
powder magazine, the cannons, and part of th 
provisions were saved. The extent of the damag 
by fire and flood was such that repair work woul I 
have meant reducing the remaining works to tm 
ground and beginning with new foundations. 19 

On May 27. 1781. General Washington ir 
formed the President of Congress: 

There has been a necessity of abandoning the post ( f 
Fort Schuyler (Stanwix) and removing the Garrisc J 
and Stores to German Flats. The Barracks had bet 
the beginning of this month consumed by fire and tit 
Works so exceedingly damaged by the heavy ra f 
storm that they were rendered indefensible, nor cou t 
they be repaired in any reasonable time by the numb I 
of Men who can be spared as a Garrison. 20 

Orders arrived on June 1 for the garrison 
evacuate the post. The women and children h 
alreadj been taken by boat to German Flats <| 
May 21. On June 3. the convoy set out in bos l 

Historic Structure 127 

down the Mohawk River for Fort Herkimer, 
arriving there the next day. On June 6, a convoy 
left Fort Herkimer destined for Fort Stanwix, where 
it arrived the following day at 4:00 p.m. The next 
two days were spent demolishing the fort, after 
which the troops returned to Fort Herkimer 21 

D. The Blockhouses of 1783 and 1794 

General Washington visited the site of Fort 
Stanwix in 1783.-'- In August of that year he 
ordered Col. Marinus Willett to build ". . . one or 
two small Block Houses, at the Portage between 
the Mohawk River and the Wood Creek. . . ." 
Orders filtered down from Col. Willett through 
Capt. Pearsce to Capt. Newell, who was eventually 
assigned the job of superintending the construction 
work. The project got under way early in October, 
hindered by the age-old problem of procuring 
necessary supplies.-" 1 

Eventually the project was completed. Ap- 
parently, three blockhouses were built about one 
: half mile below the site of Fort Stanwix, probably 
, near the upper landing site on the Mohawk River 
] near old Fort Williams. 21 When a meeting with 
, the Indians was held at Fort Stanwix in 1784, the 
casks of liquor were locked up in one of these 
, blockhouses. - r ' 

In 1794, a committee consisting of local 
, inhabitants sent a petition to Governor Clinton 
; bating: 

' esolved . . . that a Fort should be erected at Fort 
Stanwix as a place of rendezvous for the Troops 
ind Inhabitants and as a deposit for Stores. . . . 
. . it would be proper for us only to erect Palissadoes 
ic round, and a Block house within the Body of 
he Place. . . . The ditch, the Ramparts and the Glacis 
tre yet in good preservation. . . , 26 

Sufficient information is on hand to be sure 
hat the blockhouse was constructed, although no 
widence of its construction was found in the 
ircheological exploration work. Rev. John Taylor, 
elating his visit to Rome in 1802, stated: "The 
)ld Fort Stanwix stands about 30 rods from the 
iver. It is regularly built, the intrenchment is very 
leep. In the center of the Fort stands the old 
>lockhouse." 27 

The blockhouse was still standing in 1815. 
vhen William Dunlap visited Rome. He reported 

that from a window in James Lynch's house he 
". . . made a drawing of the remains of the fort. 
The block house still occupies the centre of the 
fortification, and the mounds of earth which 
formerly made the ramparts of the fort, were 
beyond." 2R 

No record has been found to date that pin- 
points the exact year when the blockhouse was 
razed but by ". . . 1830 the whole fort was levelled 
sic & ditches filled up." 29 

E. Powder Horns and Related Pictorial 

Quite a few powder horns have survived from 
the mid-eighteenth century that were engraved with 
regional maps showing towns and forts of the New 
York area. Of special interest to the project are 
the powder horns which have the plan of Fort 
Stanwix engraved on them. Not all of the powder 
horns carved at Fort Stanwix (or Schuyler) have 
been located and examined. Bui of those either 
examined personally or through drawings and 
photographs, the most convincing are those identi- 
fied as belonging to: Christophe* - Hutton, 1777; 
James McGraw, December 25, 1777; Thomas 
DeWitt, 1778; James Wilson, c. 1779; and Cornelius 
Chatfield, November 5, 1780. 

The authenticity of the McGraw powder horn 
is the most convincing to the author. James (or 
Alexander) McGraw enlisted in July of 1775. He 
was with Capt. Thomas Dorsey's Company in the 
battle for Quebec and was shot through the leg on 
the retreat from Canada. 

McGraw then enlisted on April 13, 1777, 
in Capt. Bleecker's Company under Colonel Peter 
Gansevoort. 30 This company arrived at Fort 
Stanwix on May 26, 1777, and stayed until ap- 
proximately Dec. 31, 1779. 31 A return of the sick 
in the garrison at Fort Stanwix on March 1, 1778, 
states [James] McGraw, Capt. Bleecker's Company, 
was confined to his quarters with an ulcerous leg. 32 
It seems very likely that James McGraw's old war 
wound became infected and that during this time 
of convalescence he had time to engrave the plan 
of Fort Stanwix on his powder horn. 

In 1897, P. F. Hugunine of Rome completed 
a painting of Fort Stanwix, based upon his im- 
pressions following an extensive period of research 
on the subject. He arrived at the conclusion that the 

128 Fort Stanwix 

fort was square, had bastions, and was located in 
the general area where later archeology proved it 
to be. 

A copy of the Hugunine painting has been 
included in the Appendices of this report. Hugunine 
described his fort in the following way: 

The earthwork around the fortification is the silent or 
covert way, a dry ditch, 12 to 14 feet deep, with 
perpendicular pickets in its center, and 24 feet wide 
to the walls of the Fort. The parallel pickets project 
from the rampart and follow around the walls. The 
parapets are made of heavy sods cut from the swamps, 
which form the outer part of the wall. The inner parts 
are logs and filled between with earth. The whole 
construction is of earth for the exterior and logs for 
the interior. :t:! 

The Hugunine painting differs in many aspects 
from what is proposed for the reconstruction. The 
chief differences are: sod rampart walls and para- 
pets vs. log construction; open passageways vs. 
covered; pickets located in the ditch vs. on the 
covered way; no buildings on the parade ground 
vs. five structures; no ravelin vs. a ravelin. 

In 1 897 a new twist to the Fort Stanwix story 
took place. Apparently unimpressed by the efforts 
of Mr. Hugunine's research, Mr. Thomas H. Stryker 
of Rome was instrumental in getting Charles C. 
Hopkins, an engineer with the Stanwix Engineering 
Company in Rome, to study all the existing records 
pertaining to the actual construction of the fort. 
Mr. Hopkins then drew up a plan of the fort as he 
understood it to exist, not as it was actually pro- 
posed. His plan, submitted with a signed affidavit, 
was presented before the Rome Common Council, 
the D.A.R., and the S.A.R. on September 1 5, 1 899.™ 

The revised plan of 1 899 is reasonably ac- 
curate in locating two of the fort's bastions and 
curtain walls, but it distorts the angles and lengths 
of the northeast and southeast bastions and curtain 
walls. This contorted plan of the fort received wide- 
spread support publicly and has been used ever 
since as the symbolic representation of Fort 

Public interest in the fort was aroused during 
the 1 50th year observance of the siege of Fort 
Stanwix. John Albert Scott, editor of the Rome 
Sentinel newspaper, prepared a series of articles for 
the sesquicentennial edition entitled Fori Stanwh 
and Oriskany, published in book form in 1927. 
There is very little information omitted from this 
book pertaining to the siege; it probably represents 

the best effort to date to present the history of Fort 
Stanwix during 1 777. 

Another project finished in time for the 
sesquicentennial was a painting of Fort Stanwix 
done by Edward Buyck. The theme of the painting 
is the purported first raising of the "Stars and 
Stripes" by the American troops in battle against 
enemy fire on August 3, 1777. :in 

Like the Hugunine painting of 1897, the fort 
is shown as an earthen fortification faced with sod. 
In order to achieve the dramatic effect of the 
garrison standing at attention on the parade ground, 
the five free-standing buildings were left out of 
the picture. 



On January 22-24, 1973, representatives from 
the Denver Service Center, the Northeast Regional 
Office, the New York District Office and the 
Harpers Ferry Center met in Rome, New York, to 
formulate plans for the interpretation of Fort 

It was generally agreed that the guidelines to 
be used in the reconstruction of the fort structures 
would be as follows: 

( 1 ) The major theme of the interpretive pro- 
gram at Fort Stanwix would center about the siege 
of the fort and the repulse of the British forces 
commanded by St. Leger. This would encompass a 
short period of time on each side of August 2-22, 
I 1777, when the seige took place, or from May 
through December 1777. 

(2) Fort Stanwix should be totally recon- 
structed on the exterior with all visible construction 
adhering to the historic scene. In other words, there 
should be no deviation on the exterior from the 
building details and dimensions as found in the 
historic period of 1758-1781. 

(3) All structures found within the fort area 
related to the historic period should be recon- 
structed either for visitor interpretation or use by 

A tentative plan was developed for the utiliza- 
tion of the structures proposed in the forthcoming 
reconstruction of Fort Stanwix. The following 
recommendations for building use were proposed: 

(1) Totally reconstructed areas would be as 

a. Glacis, covered way, picket line, ditch, 
and log ramparts. 

b. Ravelin, ravelin gates, picket gates 
and bridge over the covered way. 

c. Main bridge, draw span, and main 

d. Elevated necessary with connecting 

e. Restore the stream bed on the east 
side of the fort. 

f. Sally port (covered communication, 
redoubt and gate.) 

g. Parade ground with whipping post, 
gun platform, and wells. 

h. Guardhouse (used in the winter 
months for interpretative station). 

i. East barracks with four officers' 
rooms and two soldier's rooms. 

j. Headquarters building with a Com- 
mandant's room, combination dining 
room and headquarters, and two staff 
officer's rooms. 

k. Bakehouse and passageway in south- 
east bastion. 

I. Southwest bombproof and passage- 
way. Used during the siege as a 
hospital and for the safekeeping of 
valuable papers (Colbraith Diary). 

m. Northwest bombproof and passage- 
way. May have been used for a 
powder magazine during the siege. 

n. Northeast bombproof and passage- 
way. Not to be exhibited unless 
visitation requires an additional 
underground exhibit. 

o. All bastions to be restored with 
ramps, gun platforms, banquettes, 
parapets, and embrasures. 

p. The flagstaff on the southwest bastion. 

q. Sentry boxes. 

r. Southeast casemate to be shown as a 
soldier's barracks. 


130 Fort Stanwix 

s. All exterior surfaces of the casemates, 
the storehouse and west barracks to 

be restored to plans. 

(2) Partially restored areas and/or adaptive 
use areas for management should be utilized as 

a. The storehouse is to be used for a 
visitor comfort station. 

b. The west barracks is to be adapted 
for use as an audio-visual station. A 
heating plant could be located in 
this building. 

c. The southwest casemate, all or in 
part, could be used for a cooperative 
association sales area. 

d. The west casemate should have the 
north room restored as a soldier's 
barracks and the south two-thirds of 
the casemate adapted as office space 
for management. 

e. The east casemate should be adapted 
for use by the park staff and should 
contain an eating-lounge area; change 
room, and storage area in the south 
half of the casemate. Storage of the 
artifacts excavated from the fort site 
could be placed in this space. 

f. The north casemate should have two 
west end rooms restored as officer's 
quarters. The remaining area should 
not be used immediately. 

(3) Lighting: A minimum of exterior lighting 
is planned for the fort. It was recommended that 
we floodlight the exterior of the bastions at night 
for protection purposes. Also, it is possible that 
lighting of the flagstaff will be required. One 
recommendation was made that portable lighting 
devices be used whenever evening activities 

(4) Proposed utilities: 

a. Electrical service should be placed 
underground into the fort area and 
underground service or a conduit 
should be laid to all fort structures. 

b. Telephone service should be placed 
underground into the fort area, sales 
area, management and staff areas. 

c. Fire and smoke detection system 

should be placed throughout the for 
and connected to underground tele 
phone wires relayed to the Fin 

d. Burglar detection system. A possibli 
combination of audio and silent alarn 
systems could be connected by under 
ground telephone wires to the loca 
police station. 

e. Water system. Underground wate 
pipes should be connected to existinj 
city water lines and extended into th< 
fort area. A fire fighting-water hos< 
and stand pipe system could possibb 
be placed on the parade grounc 
utilizing the rain barrels as points o: 

f. Sewer lines should be connected tc 
the city system. City-owned storrr 
sewer lines can be used if needed. 

g. Heating. There should be one cen- 
trally located heating plant consisting 
of a boiler and one standby plant foi 
use within the fort area. Hot watei 
would be circulated in undergrounc 
pipes to the various areas that wt 
propose to heat. It is recommende< 
that the following restored exhibi 
areas not be heated east barrack* 
headquarters building, elevated neceJ 
sary, sally port, guardhouse (only on 
room to be heated), the three bonuV 
proofs, bakehouse, southeast cum • 
mate, north room of west casemat' 
west two rooms of north casemat . 
(remaining part of north casema t 
not to be heated), north half of ea 
casemate, the sentry boxes ai | 

(5) Maintenance. It is recommended that 
small maintenance area be set aside within the ft 
area for storing supplies, cleaning equipment a l 
small tools. A room in one of the casemates 
well as one or more of the lean-tos belonging t 
the storehouse would be suitable for this purpo-i 
Heavy equipment should be kept outside the f> 
area and be brought in only when needed. 



A glossary of military terms as they apply to 
:he proposed construction work at Fort Stanwix is 
ncorporated into this section of the report. These 
:erms are listed in alphabetical order and do not, 
)y any means, represent the full complement of 
erms found in a military engineer's vocabulary. 

A. Bakehouse 

The bakehouse site was first excavated in 
965, and again in 1971. :,<1 The archeologists have 

i oncluded from a study of their excavations that 

iiSiis structure was built by the Americans after 
776. :!T We have reference to a bakehouse in use 

it Fort Stanwix in 1781, but no solid evidence as 

p where it was located. 1 * 

The bakehouse occupied the center of the 
! Dutheast bastion. At least five other contemporary 
1 )rts of this period have been found with a bake- 
1 ouse built within a bastion.™ When the powder 
i lagazine of 1758 collapsed sometime after 1764, 
t le earth fill surrounding this structure fell into the 
\ riginal excavated area. After the Americans ar- 
i ved, they apparently completed the filling in of 

I 't ie old magazine, leveled off the ground, and 

I I instructed a bakehouse over part of the filled area. 
■ t vidence is on hand that the bakehouse structure 

k ood completely below the terreplein of the 
tistion. 40 Its floor level started at 450.05 feet, or 
I '. inches below the parade ground. With its ceiling 
i ight of seven feet, roof thickness of two feet, plus 
t' 'o feet of earth fill, the elevation of the terreplein 
i Ifl ove should be close to 461.00 feet. 

The bakehouse measured 18.5 feet x 20 feet. 
^ doorway, 3.75 feet wide, was located in the 
'•» nter of the west wall. Three wooden steps were 

found at the entrance: the first step started outside 
the wall of the structure and was elevated six inches 
above the parade ground, the second step was 
located within the wall, and the third step was built 
entirely within the room. In the 1965 excavations 
portions of a door and door jamb with two pintles 
in place were found in their fallen position on the 
floor. 4 ' 

A brick fireplace and hearth were uncovered 
in the center of the east wall. Immediately in back 
of the fireplace, 1.6 feet above the hearth, a bee- 
hive oven was constructed measuring 10 feet wide 
and 12 feet long. It was built of brick and had a 
brick lined floor. Flues to serve the fireplace and 
oven were probably combined into one chimney 
that extended through the roof and earth fill and 
terminated in a chimney cap just above the terre- 
plein. 4 - 

According to the archeologists' report of 1965. 
the corners of the bakehouse were built with a sad- 
dle and notch type construction, indicating that the 
structure was made from either round or squared 
logs. The report also implied that the exterior walls 
were covered with clapboards (actually boards 
measuring 1 inch X 11 inches). Window glass frag- 
ments and shutter pintles were reported found in 
the excavations along the east wall. If the bake- 
house were completely backfilled with earth, the 
only logical location for a window would be in the 

The roof of the original structure was probably 
covered with two tiers of 12-inch squared timbers, 
sloped to one side to provide drainage. The floor 
of the bakehouse, except for the brick hearth, was 
thought to be of hard packed earth. 

No evidence was found during the excavations 
to indicate passageways, etc., in front of the bake- 
house. It is assumed that a short passageway was 


32 Fort Stanwix 

built off the steps, turning to the south and con- 
tinuing another 30 feet. The passageway roof would 
have been covered with heavy timbers and earth 
would have been placed over the roof whenever 
it was needed to fill out the terreplein surroundin 
the gun platforms. 

B. Banquette 

Banquette, whether single or double, is a kind 
of step made on the rampart of a work near the 
parapet, for the troops to stand upon, in order to fire 
over the parapet: it is generally 3 feet high when 
double, and 1 Vi when single, and about 3 feet broad, 
and AVi feet lower than the parapet. 4:t 

. . . the surface should slope backwards 2 inches 
in 3 ft., 3 inches in the 5 ft., so as to discharge water 
freely and keep the banquette dry. . . .' 4 

Banquettes first appear on the plans of 1764. 
in the northeast and northwest bastions, in the 
ravelin and in the redoubt of the sally port. 45 In 
the cross section through the redoubt, the banquette 
appears as an earthen firing step having a ramp to 
the rear. They may be similarly constructed in the 
bastions where the terreplein is of earth construc- 
tion, but on the timber terrepleins of the curtain 
walls and over the wooden platform of the ravelin, 
they would be constructed of wood. Sod or clay 
would have been used to stabilize the surface of 
the earthen banquettes. 

Plank construction was probably used in 
building the wooden banquettes running along the 
curtatin walls. These would be three feet wide, and 
1 Vi feet high with a two inch slope toward the 
rear. All of the banquettes would be canted back 
at a 40 angle whenever they stopped at an 
embrasure. No construction details for wooden 
banquettes have been found up to the present time 
except for those built along the walls of the sally 
port passageway.""' These appear in sections A-B 
and C-D, Crown Map No. 102. It is assumed that 
the banquettes running along the curtain walls of 
the fort and on the ravelin would be constructed in 
a similar manner. 

C. Barracks 
Background Information 

There were no free-standing barracks built for 
the soldiers at Fort Stanwix in 1 758— 59. ,7 Case- 

mates to house 400 soldiers were constructet 
under the terreplein of the four curtain walls 
while twenty-one "Hutts for Officers" were built or 
the east half of the parade ground. The roon 
arrangement of the casemates and the plan locatior 
of the officers' huts can be seen in Crown Map; 
Nos. 99, 100. and 101. 

Prior to November 1764, the officers' huts hae 
been removed from the parade ground, and in theii 
place three buildings were constructed around the 
perimeter of the parade ground. While the build- 
ings are not identified on the plan, they weri 
probably two barrack buildings and a command 
ant's house. 4S Crown Map No. 102 shows the 
chimney arrangement and hip roof construction ol 
the barracks, which scale 20 feet X 120 feet. 

By 1767 the fort was described as being in 2 
ruinous situation and not worth the expense ol 
repairing and of maintaining a garrison there. The 
British government did see fit. however, to retair 
at least two half-pay officers to take care of the 
buildings, in the event they should be required foi 
the King's use. 49 

In 1774 the fort suffered a disastrous fire 
which consumed all the buildings except a "Roorr 
which the officers used to mess in. . . .'" "'" Thi< 
was the situation confronting the American Army 
under Col. Flias Dayton, when it arrived at Fori 
Stanwix on July 13. 1776. The above descriptioi 
given of the fort's condition tallies with that writtei 
by Dr. Ebenezer Elmer in August of 1776: 

Fort Stanwix. so called after the General who built i 
in I 758. is large and well situated, having a glacij 
breastwork, ditch and a picquet fort before the wall! 
which are also well guarded with sharp sticks of timbe 
shooting over the walls, on which is four bastions. Th 
fort also has a sally port, covert way. bridge an 1 
ravelin before the gate at the entrance. The ruins cl 
five houses and barracks in the inside, built for if : 
accommodation of the stores, officers and soldiery. ' 

Dr. Elmer implies in his journal that there we \ 
still not enough barracks to house the men 1 ' 
September 18, since he had to sleep outdoors, 
was not until October 3 that Dr. Elmer was ab I 
to move into the barracks, sharing a room with ; 
captain."'-' This room was apparently only a vert \ 
division of space since the entry on October 
states that there was no partition between ti 
rooms. 53 Many of the artificers and soldi** 
continued to lodge in tents after this date."' 4 

Il is still not certain how much construct!') 

Historic Structure 133 

work was done on the fort under the direction of 
Col. Dayton between July 13 and October 17. 
There are conflicting reports written about the 
condition of the fort at this time, one of which 
stated that Fort Stanwix was the strongest fort on 
the continent/' 5 Reports such as these must have 
been gross exaggerations. It seems more likely that 
a garrison of such small size could do little more 
than maintain guard and fatigue duty during its 
four month stay. 

Colonel Dayton's regiment was replaced on 
October 1 7 by Colonel Samuel Elmore's four com- 
panies of Connecticut troops consisting of some 23 
officers and 283 men. 56 According to the historian's 
report, part of the garrison was returned to 
German Flats to winter because not all the barracks 
had been completed. 57 The period of time in which 
Col. Elmore's regiment occupied Fort Stanwix — 
October 17, 1776 to May 10, 1777 — must have 
been one of inactivity as far as construction work 
was concerned. However, there was probably a 
great deal of future planning during the winter and 
early spring months by the French engineer, Capt. 
de Lamarquise, who had been sent by General 
Schuyler to take charge of the fort works. Some- 
time in late April, de Lamarquise reported that the 

I barracks were able to house only 200 men, but 
with alterations they could accommodate 400 to 

! 500 men. 5s 

After the arrival of Col. Gansevoort's 3rd New 
York Regiment on May 3, construction activity 
increased. Again there seems to be a difference of 
opinion among the various reports of this time 
regarding the condition of the fort buildings. On 
May 19, the engineer wrote that it was absolutely 
necessary to build new barracks. 5 " Colonel Marinus 
Willett recalled many years later that the barracks 

| within the fort were repaired, and another barrack 
was erected outside the fort on the glacis. This 
latter building was burned by the British army 
during the siege.'" 

Barrack Construction 

There are several contemporary drawings that 
depict the barracks at Fort Stanwix (Schuyler). 61 
Six of these sources include in their delineation five 
buildings standing on the parade ground; two of 
the five structures were probably barracks, and 
are in the same location as they are on the British 
plan of 1764. Unfortunately, all of the drawings 

disagree in detail and there is little indication of 
how the buildings were constructed. 

A number of references to barracks prior to 
the siege can be found at Fort Stanwix, but only 
one specifically uses the phrase "framing a 
Barracks." ° 2 Four references to fetching, trans- 
porting, and receiving boards suggest that boards 
would have been used on "framed" buildings as 
opposed to the long and heavy squared timbered 
casemates incorporated into the ramparts. 63 

A materials order submitted by B. Romans in 
September of 1775 for the construction of bar- 
racks on Constitution Island, N.Y., lists piece by 
piece the dimensions and quantity of framing stock, 
lumber, shingles, nails, bricks, etc., required for 
this project. 64 

Another material order submitted by Col. 
Moylan to the Albany Committee of Correspondence 
in September 1776 lists similar materials required 
to build "Barracks for 20,000 men." B5 There are 
also numerous references extracted from cor- 
respondence written to other forts in the northeast 
area that describe the building of barracks by 
means of frames covered with boards. Thus it seems 
that the majority of barracks buildings erected 
during the Revolution were constructed of a post, 
sill, and beam system with the walls covered with 
boards and the roofs with shingles; fort Stanwix 
was probably no exception. 

East Barracks 

Archeological excavations during the summer 
of 1972 uncovered the foundation sills for the 
north wall and portions of the east wall of this 
barracks. Three cellar holes were also excavated, 
two of which are thought to be related to the 
American occupation. 6,; The dimensions of the 
barracks measured approximately 20 feet X 120 
feet, which corresponds to the size of the 1764 
barracks. The foundations of the barracks were 
found to be wooden sleepers set directly on the 
ground; no stone was used and no evidence of fire- 
place bases was uncovered. Portions of three 
hinges, one door latch (?), six spikes, six nails, one 
pintle having a threaded end with a nut, and a 
half dozen other miscellaneous metal items were 
retrieved from the cellar holes. 

Since it has been assumed that the McGaw 
powder horn is the most credible source of in- 
formation regarding the exterior form of the 

134 Fort Stanwix 

barracks during the siege, the building would have 
had the following characteristics: 

(1) Foundation dimensions of 20 feet X 120 
feet (from archeological findings). 

(2) A frame structure consisting of sleepers, 
posts, beams, and joists; walls covered with wide 
horizontal feather-edged boards with lapped ends; 
and a gable roof covered with wood shingles/' 7 
The exterior weatherboarding would have been left 

(3) Four chimney stacks as shown on the 
powder horn. 

(4) Eight doorway openings as shown on the 
powder horn. We have plans from four other 
contemporary forts that show a passageway running 
through the barracks opposite the sally port. It is 
believed that one of the eight doorway openings 
represents a passageway, four feet wide, cut 
through the barracks for easy access to the sally 
port. Board and batten doors, hung on strap 
hinges, were probably the type of entrance used, 
each door supplied with hand wrought thumb 

(5) Only one window is shown on the powder 
horn and that is in the south gable end. Window 
openings must have been an oversight on the part 
of the artist. There were probably two or more 
windows per room, depending upon the size of 
each room. fiS It is likely that outside window 
shutters were used to conserve heat during the cold 

(6) The interior room arrangement is con- 
jectural. Two officers' rooms on the south end and 
two more on the north end are proposed. 89 
Between these would be three rooms for soldiers 
plus the passageway to the sally port. Each room 
would be heated by a fireplace. The room arrange- 
ment has been worked out by placing the fireplace 
foundations beyond the edges of the cellar holes. 

It is assumed that the cellars were dug out after 
the barracks were constructed and were probably 
used for the storage of dry provisions. 

(7) The interior room finish is conjectural. 
A garrison order issued on October 16. 1777, reads 
in part: "The Commandant wou'd be very Glad 
the Engineer wou'd carry on the Barracks with all 
possible speed, as he is afraid the Inclemency of 
the Weather, will much injure the Mens Constitu- 
tions unless soon provided with good Quarters." '" 
Assuming that the above order applies to the bar- 
racks standing on the parade ground, then they 

were still not completed nearly two months after 
the siege was over. 

On the basis of the scanty information cited 
above, it is recommended that the interior walls of 
the room occupied by the soldiers not be lined with 
boards. Instead, the rough sawn weatherboards 
nailed to the exterior wall studding should be the 
completed finish. The ceiling can be finished off 
by laying boards loosely over the top of the joists 
without nailing. This would mean that the frame- 
work of the barracks building, the posts, plates, 
and ceiling beams would be hand hewn while the 
wall studding, braces, ceiling joists, and boards 
would be mill sawn. 

The floors should be rough-sawn wide boards, 
face-nailed into the joints with "T"-headed. hand- 
wrought nails. According to garrison orders, the 
floors were to be washed down every Saturday. 

A different wall treatment is proposed for the 
officers' rooms located within the barracks. These 
walls should be lined with tongue and grooved 
boards that have been hand planed and nailed with 
small hand wrought "T" headed nails. The ceilings 
should have hand planed boards laid loosely over 
the top of the joists. 

Closets in which the officers could hang their 
uniforms, swords, etc., were probably built into 
the rooms — a small luxury not afforded the com- 
mon soldier. Lighting should be furnished by 
candles, and shoe scrapers might be provided on 
the outside wall of the officers' rooms. 

(8) Possibly eave troughs could be used to 
catch rainwater and funnel it into barrels. 

West Barracks 

Archeological excavations uncovered the foun- 
dation sills of the south wall and a portion of the 
east wall at the south end of the barracks. Six cellar 
holes were excavated along the entire length. 

The dimensions of the west barracks cor- 
respond with those of the east barracks — about 20 
feet X 1 20 feet. The construction of the two 
buildings was similar. Wooden sleepers, used foi 
the foundation, were set directly on the ground 
Parts of ten sleepers, apparently used as joists, wen 
uncovered at the south end. These were placec 
approximately three feet on centers and set directlj 
on the ground at parade ground level, 451.00 feet 

Historic Structure 135 

Excavation of the west barracks yielded only 
one fireplace base, located in the south end wall of 
the building, while the McGraw powder horn shows 
five chimney stacks extending above the roof. Three 
spikes, one pintle (with a threaded end), and two 
staples were the only hardware recovered from the 

Using the McGraw powder horn again as the 
source of information, the west barracks would 
have appeared as follows: 

(1) Foundation dimensions of 20 feet X 120 
feet (from archeological findings). 

(2) A frame structure identical in construction 
to the east barracks as described earlier. (See item 
No. 2 under east barracks.) 

(3) Four chimney stacks (spaced to avoid the 
six cellar holes). 

(4) Four doorway openings. 

(5) The powder horn shows two windows in 
the east wall, but it seems certain that there would 
have been two or more window openings into each 
of the rooms. It is probable that exterior board and 
batten shutters were used. 

(6) The interior room arrangement is con- 
jectural. 71 Two small rooms for officers at each 
end of the barracks and two large rooms for 
soldiers in the center of the building are proposed. "- 
Each room would be heated by a fireplace and 
lighted by candles. At least one cellar hole should 
be excavated and shown as an exhibit. This could 
be done by leaving the trap door open and covering 
the opening with a metal grille. 

(7) The interior room finish should be similar 
to that proposed for the east barracks; that is, the 
walls in the soldiers' rooms should be unlined on 
the interior, while those in the officers' rooms 
should be lined with boards. Ceiling boards should 
be laid loosely over the joists. The framework 
should be exposed mortice and tenoned timbers. 
The floor should be wide boards throughout, 
face-nailed with handwrought nails. 

(8) As at the east barracks, eaves troughs 
could have been used during the historic period for 
catching and diverting rainwater from the roof into 
rain barrels. 

D. Bastions 

Bastions are the pentagonal sections of the 
ramparts which extend beyond the square of the 
fort at each corner. At Fort Stanwix, the original 

drawings show that the bastions were made full, 
that is, filled with earth up to the base of the 
parapet. Access to the terreplein of the bastion 
from the parade ground was by means of a ramp 
located in the throat or gorge of the bastion. 

The terreplein of the bastions consisted mainly 
of the sloping gun platforms with earthen banquettes 
built along the base of the parapet between each 
platform. Sod was probably laid between the plat- 
forms and on the banquettes to prevent erosion of 
the topsoil. Drains for catching rainwater were 
usually dug into the terreplein at the lowest point 
next to the parapet. 

The outer part of the bastion beyond the 
terreplein consisted of the parapet, built to a 
height of six feet above the terreplein in its com- 
pleted form or to a height of 2Vi feet when 
finished en barbette. It was the usual military 
practice to place a sentry box on the tip of each 
bastion. Access to the superior slope of the parapet 
where the sentry box stood must have been provided 
by a set of steps. 

There is good evidence to believe that only 
three of the bastions at Fort Stanwix were com- 
pleted at the time of the siege 7H and up until 
February of 1778, when a report was written 
describing the conditions of the fort. 74 Probably 
the parapet of one bastion had not yet been raised 
to its entire height of six feet. 

Names were given to each bastion as it was 
completed in 1758. Only the northwest bastion can 
be positively identified, and it is designated as the 
''Flag Bastion" on Crown Map No. 101. The re- 
maining bastions were called the "Onida," the 
"New York" and the "Rodisland." "' The Ameri- 
cans apparently never gave names to their bastions, 
since on August 1, 1777, orders were given to man 
the S.E.. S.W., N.W., and N.E. bastions. 70 This 
order was repeated on December 1 1. 77 By Novem- 
ber of 1780, this designation was further simplified 
by referring to the bastions as south, east, north, 
and west. 7 * On December 30, 1780, "The Morning 
Gun is to be fired in the Southeast Bastion to 
Morrow Morning and at the Same place a New 
Year Morning and Evening." 7n 

Only one structure was built within the bastions 
in 1758 and that was a powder magazine located 
in the southeast bastion. It was built approximately 
seven feet below the parade ground level, although 
its bombproof roof extended some four feet above 
grade and was topped with five feet of earth fill. 

36 Fort Stanwix 

In 1759, a small cellar was constructed in the same 
bastion; both of these structures are shown on 
Crown Map No. 101. By 1764 both the root cellar 
and powder magazine had fallen into disrepair. 
Whether the powder magazine was rebuilt as part 
of the repair work done in 1764 is uncertain, but 
when the Americans arrived in 1 776 the magazine 
had probably fallen in and become filled over with 
earth from the bastion. 

At one time or another the Americans built a 
structure under the terreplein of each bastion. This 
fact has been established by evidence uncovered 
during the archcological excavations and by docu- 
mentation found in orderly books so and diaries. 
What are certain to be bombproofs were found in 
the northwest, northeast, and southwest bastions. 
A bakehouse was uncovered in the southeast 
bastion and is considered by the archeologists to 
have been built during the American occupation. 

The McGraw powder horn showns a rec- 
tangular block located in the throat of each bastion. 
These blocks can be interpreted in two ways — 
either as bombproofs or ramps. Since ramps arc 
usually indicated on plans by a different symbol, it 
can almost be said that the powder horn artist was 
showing underground bastion structures. 

It is proposed to show the fort with the four 
bastions completed, having full height parapets 
containing embrasures, banquettes, fraise, gun 
platforms, ramps and sentry boxes. It is recom- 
mended that three bombproofs and passageways 
be reconstructed. 

A reconstruction of the bakehouse and pas- 
sageway in the southeast bastion is recommended 
based on the archcological evidence found in 1965 
and 1971. 

A berm is also shown on the three sectional draw- 
ings appearing on Crown Map No. 99, dated 1758. 
but no measurements are written in. Scaling di- 
rectly off the drawings, these berms measure be- 
tween seven and eight feet wide. 

Archeologists have determined that the berms 
constructed at Fort Stanwix were of the following 
widths: six feet wide along the north and wesl 
sides, five feet wide along the south side, and 
seven feet wide along the east side. It appears that 
the berm adjacent to the east rampart wall was 
widened in 1764 when the pickets were moved 
from the ditch to the berm. 83 In the proposed re- 
construction, pickets should be placed on the bernj 
along the east side of the fort, and sod used or 
the berms. 

F. Bombproofs and Passageways 

As stated in the section entitled Bastions, il 
appears that bombproofs were built under three 
of the bastions — those to the northeast, northwest, 
and southwest — and that a bakehouse was con- 
structed under the southeast bastion. 

Bombproofs were so constructed as to cnabk 
them to withstand direct artillery fire. Furthe; 
precautions were taken to ensure the safety o 
their contents by covering their heavily constructec 
roofs with three to four feet of earth fill. Each o 
the bombproofs at Fort Stanwix was constructec 
in a different manner. Archcological evidence oh 
tuned from the northwest bombproof site suggest 
that the construction features of this particula 
building are very similar to those described in th 
Willed Narrative. Sl 

E. Berm 

BFRM. in fortification, is a little space or path, of 
about 4, 6, or 8 feet broad, according to the height and 
breadth of the works, between the ditch and the 
parapet, when made of turf, to prevent the earth from 
rolling into the ditch: and serves likewise to pass and 
repass.* 1 

Berms were constructed to slope slightly 
towards the ditch to provide good drainage away 
from the ramparts. s - 

I he 1759 plan of Fort Stanwix. Crown Map 
No. 101, shows a measurement of 6'-0" written 
directly above the berm on "Profill throu C # D." 

Northwest Bombproof 

This structure is probably the magazine th: t 
Willett describes as having been built from it: 
"seven spare feet which were left of the pickets 
Round posts were found forming the walls of tic 
bombproof and of the passageway into it. Tl i 
shape of the structure was found to be irregul 
with unequal lengths and angles to each wall. T! i 
south end of the bombproof measures appro- i 
match 13 feet, while the north end measures abo i 
15 feet. The east and west walls measure 20 f6<3 
and 21 feet respectively. 

Historic Structure 


The passageway enters the bombproof at the 
northeast corner. Its overall width was found to 
be approximately 5 feet, while the overall length 
along the shortest side measured 55 feet. Ten feet 
east of the bombproof, the passageway made a 42° 
turn to the south and extended 45 feet until it 
reached the end wall of the north casemate. A 
pair of strap hinges was found at the beginning of 
the passageway indicating that a door had been 
located at the entrance way. Both bombproof 
and passageway floors were found to be about 
1.23 feet below the level of the parade ground. 
This means that the height of the bombproof roof 
determined the height of the terreplein within the 
bastion. It also means that with a ramp running 
alongside the passageway, most of the side walls 
would be covered by the earth fill. 

The passageway was Moored with planks (laid 
over cross sleepers) running parallel to the walls, 
and the roof was spanned by 5 foot beams. Floor 
planks were found in the bombproof and its roof 
was covered with an earth fill. There was no indi- 
cation that interior posts were used to help support 
the roof, whose timbers were probably sloped to 
permit drainage. 

Southwest Bombproof 

This bombproof measures approximately 20 
feet square with a passageway located at the cen- 
ter of the east wall. As with the northeast bomb- 
proof, this structure and its passageway were 
constructed above the parade ground level. The 
walls of the bombproof were built of horizontal 
members, thought by the archeologists to be 
squared timbers. A doorway was framed into the 
east wall by means of two vertical posts mortised 
into the foundation timber. The ends of the wall 
timbers on each side of the opening were fastened 
to the uprights, probably by mortise and tenon 
work. This would also apply to the passageway 
walls where the timbers seem to end against trr two 
vertical posts. 

As the passageway left the bombproof, it con- 
tinued for 5 feet before turning north at a 60' 
angle. Unfortunately, only 8 feet of the second 
leg of the passageway have survived the many years 
of modern construction work on the site. The 
remaining length and direction are conjectural. The 
overall width of the passageway measured 6 feet. 

and it was floored with planks (nailed to cross 
sleepers) laid parallel to the walls. The roof of the 
passageway was probably covered with white pine 
timbers, squared off and hand adzed, similar to 
the heavy roof beams found in the bombproof. 

Good evidence for a board floor in the bomb- 
proof was found. The widths of the boards and 
the directions that they were laid can be deter- 
mined directly from the archeologists' drawings. 

In 1778 this bombproof was described as 
being "the most airy, and agreeable." Hn This state- 
ment can be interpreted to mean that the bomb- 
proof probably had a "funnel" or "air hole" built 
through the roof extending a foot or two above the 
terreplein of the bastion. The roof timbers were 
probably sloped to permit good drainage. 

Northeast Bombproof 

The floor level of the northeast bombproof was 
established at 448.00 feet, or three feet below the 
parade ground level. The floor level of the pas- 
sageway leading to the bombproof was found to 
be 449.00 feet. 

The northeast bombproof scales 15 feet X 17 
feet off the archeologists' plan and had a passage- 
way entering into the center of the south wall, of 
which approximately 22 feet was found. Its walls 
extended five feet to the southwest before turning 
almost due west another 15 feet, where the passage 
terminated approximately 14 feet from the east 
wall of the north casemate. Three steps were found 
just outside the entrance way into the passage. 
The elevation of the top step was recorded at 
451.68 feet or 8 inches above the parade ground. 
This extra height probably created a curb which 
kept ground water from running into the passage- 

Floor boards were found in the passageway 
(nailed to cross sleepers) parallel to the side walls. 
Above the floor, a collapsed section of wall was 
found. It appears that the original wall was con- 
structed of round posts spaced several feet apart 
with horizontal boards nailed to the outside — not a 
very substantial method of construction. 

No evidence of floor boards were found in 
th~ bombproof, although it would seem that a 
wood floor had been used. Remains of the roof 
timbers covering the passageway and bombproof 
were found — cross timbers were used to span the 

138 Fort Stanwix 

six foot wide passageway, while the bombproof 
timbers spanned 17 feet. These roof timbers were 
probably sloped to permit good drainage. 

G. Bricks 

Bricks used in the fortifications at the Oneida 
Carrying Place from 1756-58 were made near the 
upper landing on the Mohawk River, where a brick 
kiln was constructed. In 1756 General Craven 
reported "40,000 Bricks made & burned to build 
chimneys for the Barracks & Hospital." s,; 

The practice of making bricks locally prob- 
ably continued long after the Revolution ended. 
Brickmakers were undoubtedly one of the many 
kinds of artificers sent to Fort Stanwix between 
1776-81 when the American troops occupied the 
fort. A large supply of bricks was required to 
build the many chimney blocks found in the course 
of the excavation work. 

There seems to be a similar quality and size 
to all the bricks found on the site that were used 
for fort features. The average size of the bricks is 
2 inches X 4 inches X 8 inches (±1/4. inch). The 
color is red running to gray depending upon kiln 
conditions at the time of firing. The clay used 
contained a heavy concentration of sand with some 
pebble aggregate, and straw was introduced oc- 
casionally as a binder. The final product was a 
brick which had numerous air pockets, a very soft 
consistency, and warped surfaces. 87 

The mortar consisted of burned lime and sand 
and was white in color due to the concentration of 
lime to sand. Samples of the brick and mortar are 
available at the site. 

H. Bridge 

Fort Stanwix was originally constructed 
without a bridge at the main entrance to the fort. 
I he ditch was stopped short on both sides of the 
roadway which entered the fort through the south 
curtain wall. (See Crown Maps Nos. 99 & 100.) 
Sometime between 1759 and 1765 the road- 
bed in front of the south curtain wall was exca- 
vated as deep and as wide as the adjoining ditch. 
This excavation may have been done in 1764 
when work was carried on between July 1 and 
December 31. The bridge first appeared on plans 
drawn in 1764— Crown Maps Nos. 102 & 103— 

but there is no indication on these plans that a 
drawbridge was built at this time. 

The "Ganesvoort Map of Fort Stanwix" and 
the Cornelius Chatfield powder horn are two draw- 
ings completed after 1777 that show a bridge with 
supporting posts and braces. The deFleury map 
lists a "draw bridge" which implies an existing 
bridge structure to go with it. Except for three 
other references cited under the section entitled 
Drawbridge, the orderly books, journals, and 
diaries all omit references to a bridge. 

The ground in front of the south curtain wall 
was excavated by the archeologists in 1972 and 
parts of two sleepers, one of them 40 feet long, 
that supported the bridge at the bottom of the ditch 
were uncovered. At a higher level, four posts were 
found that the archeologists interpret as being sup- 
ports for the bridge. These were found in pairs 
about 10 feet apart and approximately 10 to 12 
feet in from each end of the bridge. The sleepers 
in the bottom of the ditch were spaced 10 feet 6 
inches apart, outside dimensions. This measure- 
ment was used to determine the width of the bridge 
and to establish the positions of the two outer posts. 

By determining the slopes of the scarp (43 ) 
and counterscarp (37 ). the archeologists have de- 
termined the length of the bridge to have been 
74 feet. Approximately 1.5 feet of the south end 
rested on the covered way. 

Further information on the design of the bridge 
will have to be gleaned from the post-siege drawing. 
This drawing also includes a detailed sketch of the 
bridge to the necessary. One bridge drawing done 
at Fort Niagara in 1769 is helpful in understanding 
the construction techniques used in the building of 

The proposed bridge is supported by six posts 
anchored to the sleepers and stringers by diagonal 
braces. A 3'/2 inch plank deck is laid over eighl 
inch stringers which in turn are supported by 10- 
inch beams. A handrail, which shows up on the 
post-siege plan, should be built along both sides of 
the bridge and a. wood curb placed along the base 
of the posts. At the north end. a draw span should 
be constructed, 10 feet 6 inches X 12 feet. A ramp 
is required off the south end to ease the bridge 
elevation of 450.60 feet down to 448.00 feet at the 
base of the ravelin. 

It is recommended that the bridge be made 
from squared timbers and planks that have a hand 

Historic Structure 139 

adzed finish. The handrail may have had a plane 
finish on its posts, rails, and cap pieces. The bridge 
should be left unpainted but all the pieces should 
be pressure treated after final cutting and fitting. 
The major joints of the bridge should be mor- 
tised and tenoned and pegged, while the bridge 
planks should be nailed with lOOd spikes having 
rose heads. 

I. Casemates 

A casemate, according to Muller, "is a work 
made under the rampart, like a cellar or cave with 
loopholes to place guns in it." HH Casemates built 
by the British and American armies, prior to and 
during the Revolution, were slightly modified from 
the above description. They were not built to 
hold guns, nor did they have loopholes or em- 
brasures, but were used primarily as soldiers' bar- 
racks or as a place for the storage of provisions 
and ordnance."" 

Early in 1758 a proposal for the construction 
of Fort Stanwix was submitted by Lt. Col. John 
Montresor, a British engineer. He proposed "Bar- 
racks to be made underneath the Rampart, with 
!the Flues of the Chimneys, to come thr'o the 
Top." !l " Capt. William Green commented that a 
"Reasonable Breadth for the Barracks underneath 
cannot be less than 20 ft." 01 

Writing in November 1758, Col. Montresor 
described the completed work as follows: "The 
loggs of w ch the fort is built are generally 2 F f 
thick, flatted on the upper and under sides. The 
Casemates (at present Barracks) are covered w ( 
two teer of Square timber from 12 to 24 Tn s 
broad by 12 In s thick as Represented in the 
Profil." ° 2 This description agrees with the plans 
and drawings completed in 1758 and 1759. 

An elevation drawing and a cross section taken 
through the north casemate are shown on Crown 
Map. No. 99, while another cross section taken 
through the north casemate is shown on Crown 
Map No. 101. These plans included building de- 
tails for the casemates. A description of the four 
:asemate areas shown on these early plans can be 
read in the historian's report of 1969. 03 

Very little evidence of the casemate founda- 
tion walls was found during the archeological work. 
Sufficient portions of the wall foundations of all 
:asemates except the one on the east were un- 

covered to establish their relationship to the ram- 
part walls. 

According to the historian's report, the case- 
mates were rebuilt in 1764.'' 4 If this was the case, 
it might account for the differences that were noted 
between the plans of 1758-64 and what was ac- 
tually found as archeological evidence. There is 
also the possibility that these changes were made 
between 1776 and 1781 when the Americans oc- 
cupied the fort. A letter written by Col. Ganse- 
voort in October of 1777 was concerned about the 
proposed building of bombproof barracks (possibly 
casemates) : 

Major Hubbell the present Engineer is now busy to 
lay the Foundation of a bombproof Barrack, the 
Timber he has brought in for that purpose in my 
opinion is insufficient against a 13 Inch Shell. . . , 95 

If the above timber was to be used for case- 
mates, it would seem that no work was accom- 
plished that winter. Another account written on 
February 3, 1778, describes the condition of the 
fort : 

The Fortification is far From coir.pleat. The Curtains 
& one Bastion remain to be finished, Magazines & 
Casements are to he built, the Ditch to be Picqueted 
and the present Barracks must necessarily be pulled 
down. . . . ; " ; (Emphasis added.) 

If the above account is an accurate description 
of the fort, it leaves the impression that the case- 
mates, at least in part, were not completed in 1777. 
Because of a lack of solid documentation for 
identifying the uncompleted parts of the fort, it is 
recommended that all casemates be reconstructed 
as they might have appeared in a completed fort. 

General Construction Details for all Casemates: 

(1) Walls should be constructed six logs high 
with their upper and lower faces flatted. The foun- 
dation log should be not less than 24 inches in 
diameter and pressure treated to refusal after all 
joints are cut and fitted. The remaining five logs 
should measure approximately 23, 21, 20, 19, and 
17 inches in diameter from bottom to top. Two 
additional wall logs along the front wall should be 
squared into 8 inches X 12 inches timbers with a 
hand adzed finish on the exposed sides. Splicing at 
the ends of logs and timbers should be done with 

140 Fort Stanwix 

half-lapped joints, and dove-tailed at the corners. 
Partitions should be constructed of 6 inches thick 
squared logs, 22 feet long; exposed surfaces should 
be hand adzed and the ends half-lapped and fas- 
tened to the front and rear walls. 

(2) Doors and windows should be cut through 
the log walls. Doors should be board and batten, 
hung with strap hinges on pintles and have thumb 
latches. They would measure four feet wide and 
five feet high (as scaled off the 1758 drawing). 
Window openings are based on a glass size of 
7 inches X 9 inches (as assembled by the archc- 
ologists from window glass fragments). Using this 
glass size, the casemate window openings measure 
2434 inches X 3114 inches based on a nine-light 
casement-hung sash. Exterior shutters should be 
board and batten, hung on strap hinges. 

(3) Roofs of the casemates should be com- 
posed of two tiers of squared timbers, each tier 
12 inches thick, 8 inches to 24 inches wide and 23 
feet long — all pressure treated to point of refusal. 
A waterproof membrane is proposed between the 
two tiers with the surface joints and weather checks 
caulked with oakum and pitch. Banquettes with a 
concealed drainage system should be built on the 
roof of the casemate against the parapet. The case- 
mate roofs slope 9 inches down to the parapet from 
9 feet to 6 inches to 8 feet 9 inches interior ceiling 
heights should be 2 feet lower. 

North Casemate 

The basic shape of the north casemate, as 
uncovered by the archeologists. conforms to that 
found on the historic drawings. Pieces of wood 
foundation (logs) were uncovered along the entire 
length of the north wall, and along the west end 
wall. The location of the south wall was based 
on evidence related to changes in soil levels and 
color graduation. A number of evenly spaced cross 
trenches were found that were thought to be sleeper 
locations for the support of floor boards. 

The archeologists discovered that a major 
deviation from the floor plans drawn in 1758-59 
was the number and placement of fireplaces. Six 
brick bases for fireplaces were uncovered in a line 
abutting the north log wall. 

Since all of the fireplace bases were practi- 
cally identical in size, and evenly spaced, the 
archeologists have assumed that the casemate was 
divided into six rooms of nearly equal size. 

The archeologists have determined that the 
floor level throughout the casemate was approxi- 
mately the same as the hearths. No evidence was 
found by the archeologists to indicate that bricks 
were used either for the floor of the fireplaces or of 
the hearths; it is assumed that packed soil or clay 
was used for this purpose. 

In order to minimize the danger of weaken- 
ing the exterior log wall by cutting a door opening 
into each of the six rooms, it is proposed to use 
only three openings with air locks or enclosed en- 
tries on the interior. The use of air locks in this 
instance is conjectural, but three contemporary 
fort drawings have been located that illustrate this 
feature. 1 ' 7 

After evaluating the artifacts found in the 
north casemate, archeologists have concluded that 
these rooms were occupied by officers rather than 
by soldiers. An entry from John Barr's diary for 
1780. reads "drew for the Rooms and Lieu' Hyatt 
and I drew N" 1 on the Left of the North Side of 
the Fort." ' ,s 

Based upon the number of officers stationed at 
Fort Stanwix. there would be three rooms with 
three officers (Ensigns) and three rooms with two 
officers of a higher rank. Closets are a feature 
that have been found in other fort plans and should 
probably be included in these six rooms. 

East Casemate 

No trace of this casemate was found during 
the excavation work. About midway between the 
northeast and southeast bastions, a trench was 
found that related to a drain running through the 
rampart walls and into the extended passageway of 
the sally port located in the ditch. The archeolo- 
gists seem certain that the drain also paralleled the 
sally port passageway through the casemate. 

The Hoot plan of the proposed east ease- 
mate is based on that found in the drawings of 
1758-59; that is. two rooms of about equal size 
on both sides of the sally port passageway. Each 
room should have a centrally located chimnej 
with a double fireplace and a sand floor for both 
fireplace and hearth. These rooms are shown on 
the original plans as having field beds (bench beds) 
built in alone two sides of the room. Two exterior 
doors and eight windows are drawn on the plan 
of 1758-59. and this number is proposed for the 

Historic Structure 141 

reconstruction. A planked floor throughout is also 

South Casemate 

Because the main entrance (12 feet 6 inches 
wide) into the fort passed through the south curtain 
wall, the proposed south casemate is subdivided 
into southwest and southeast rooms. Traces of the 
wood foundation forming the entrance passageway 
were found as well as the west end of the south- 
west room. The archeologists' report should be 
consulted for a complete description of this area. 

The remains of a centrally located brick fire- 
place were found in the southwest casemate, the 
only evidence remaining of any of these early 
chimney blocks built in the 1758-59 period. Re- 
construction of the two south casemates is based on 
the plan of 1758-59, which incorporates the central 
chimney as found. 

The two reconstructed casemates are approxi- 
mately the same size, each one having a centrally 
located chimney block containing two back-to- 
back fireplaces. According to the early drawings, 
there should be one exterior door and six window 
openings in each casemate. Field beds should be 
built along the side walls as shown on the plans of 
1758. The floor in the southeast casemate should 
be wood, but the floor in the southwest casemate 
was found to be packed clay. 

West Casemate 

Portions of the log foundation were found at 
the north end of this casemate, although modern 
building foundations had intruded into this area 
and eliminated practically all of the structure at 
parade ground level. The reconstructed floor plan 
of the west casemate agrees with that shown on 
the plans of 1758-59. The casemate should be 
divided by squared log partitions into three rooms, 
each room containing a centrally located chimney 
block with back to back fireplaces. The fireplaces 
and hearths should be of sand and the floors of 
the casemates should be made of planks. 

In accordance with the original plans there 
should be one exterior door and three window 
openings into each room. Field beds should be 
built along the west wall of the three rooms and 
across the end walls of the north and south rooms. 

J. Covered Way 

The covered way was a shelf of ground run- 
ning along the counterscarp or outer edge of the 
ditch, and was protected from enemy fire by the 
parapet of the glacis. It was used as a place to sta- 
tion sentries and as a first line of defense. 

The term "Cover'd way" appears on Crown 
Map No. 102, dated 1764. The earlier plans of the 
fort, if drawn to scale outside the ditch, show a 
covered way measuring two feet wide on Section 
E-F, Crown Map No. 99, but only one foot wide 
on Section E-F, Crown Map No. 101. The covered 
way must have been extensively widened by 1764, 
since these plans indicate a width of 10 feet in 
addition to what appears to be two firing steps 
built into the parapet of the glacis. 

The covered way occurred only on three sides 
of the fort where the ditch was dug. although the 
deFleury post-siege map and the "Gansevoort Map 
of Fort Stanwix" show it on all sides. A portion 
of the covered way opposite the southwest bastion 
was exposed by the archeologists. A distinct ledge. 
10 feet wide, was found between the counterscarp 
of the ditch and the parapet of the glacis. At the 
base of the glacis, a trench, 2'/2 feet deep and ap- 
proximately 3 feet wide, was excavated and inter- 
preted to be the location of the picket line, 
although no trace of the pickets were found. No 
evidence of the 1764 firing steps was left in the 
parapet at this location. 

Based on the evidence submitted by the 
archeologists, the proposed covered way is 10 
feet wide. It follows the counterscarp of the ditch 
on the north, west and south sides of the fort. 
Opposite the tips of the northeast and southeast 
bastion, it angles directly toward the rampart walls 
and connects to the berm on an elevation of 451 .00 
feet. The picket line should also turn and follow 
the covered way. then continue along the berm on 
the east side of the fort. 

A covered way is shown on the old plans in 
front of the ravelin and so it is proposed to run a 
covered way, 10 feet wide, along the exterior faces 
of the ravelin. The picket line should also turn 
and follow the base of the glacis surrounding the 
ravelin. At the intersection of the road into the 
ravelin, there should be a picket gate and a small 
bridge spanning a shallow ditch eight feet wide. 
The covered way should be finished off with sod 
and sloped toward the ditch to provide drainage. 

142 Fort Stanwix 

K. Curtain Wall 

CURTAIN, in fortification, is that part of the body of 
a place, which joins the flank of one bastion to that of 
the next. '•''•' 

The curtain walls are part of the ramparts. 
At Fort Stanwix the curtain walls were constructed 
to include casemates under the terreplein. A sally 
port was built through the center of the east curtain 
wall and the main entrance into the fort was built 
through the center of the south curtain wall. Em- 
brasures were possibly built into the parapet of the 
curtain walls. For a discussion of how the curtain 
walls were constructed, see the sections entitled 
Ramparts and Casemates. 

L. Ditch 

The idea of a ditch surrounding a fort was a 
holdover from the moats around the medieval forti- 
fied towns and castles. This principle was kept in 
use by military engineers because it served to ex- 
tend the exterior slope of the ramparts without 
adding height to the construction relief of the 

A natural scrap occurring in the land forma- 
tion to the east must have influenced the selection 
of the original site of Fort Stanwix. The military 
engineers could easily see the advantage of placing 
the rampart walls along the edge of this scarp and 
thus avoiding the construction of a ditch and glacis 
along the east side. A study of the plans and written 
documents seems to verify this approach. 

After the trace of the fort was laid out. the 
construction of the cribbing for the rampart walls 
was begun. Earth from the ditch was then taken out 
and thrown into the cribbing as it was being raised, 
until the proper height of the rampart walls was 
reached. The remaining earth from the ditch was 
removed to fill the inner part of the bastions (ter- 
replein and ramp) and the parapet walls, and to 
construct the glacis beyond the ditch. 

An original drawing of 1758 (Crown Map No. 
99) indicates, in plan and section, a ditch extend- 
ing around four sides of Fort Stanwix. Section 
A-B shows how poorly the counterscarp of the 
ditch along the east wall was constructed. The 
ditch ended in plan when it reached the face of the 
northeast bastion. 

The building of a ditch along the east side of 
the fort probably represents an attempt on the part 

of the engineer to carry out the principles of forti- 
fied works as listed in military handbooks. Appar- 
ently, by 1764. the poorly constructed ditch had 
deteriorated to the point where it was considered 
not worth restoring, since it does not appear on 
the plans from this period. 

The ditch on the south side of the fort was 
enlarged in 1759 (see note F on Crown Map No. 
101). By 1764, the open end of the ditch at the 
southeast bastion was closed off by an earthen 
counterscarp and covered way which were built 
across the gap. The open end at the northeast bas- 
tion may have been closed in a similar manner. 

Several angles of the scarp and counterscarp 
were measured after they were exposed during the 
excavation work. These angles varied from 37° 
to 44°. The archeologists established 40° as the 
angle to use for the scarp and counterscarp of the 
ditch, and for the scarp of the glacis and sally port, 
while the angle of the scarp under the drawbridge 
was found to be 43°. 

The following widths have been proposed for 
the ditch on the north and south sides: 42 feet 
across the top and 18 feet at the bottom opposite 
the bastions, 58 feet across the top and 34 feet at 
the bottom opposite the center of the curtain walls. 
On the west side of the fort the widths of the ditch 
are: 39 feet across the top and 15 feet at the bottom 
opposite the bastions. 55 feet across the top and 31 
feet at the bottom opposite the curtain walls. An 
indentation of 10 feet into the scarp was found at 
the entrance to the fort. Depth of the ditch is 10 
feet, or at an elevation of 441.00 feet. 

The ditch is circular opposite the salient an- 
gles of the northwest and southwest bastions. The 
radii of the two arcs that define the inner and outer 
limits of the counterscarp scale 20 feet and 32 feet 
off the tip of the scarp of the bastion. 

It is proposed to sod the scarp and counter- 
scarp. The bottom of the ditch should be left with 
its natural soil exposed. The archeologists feel 
certain that with the type of pebbly soil found at 
the bottom of the ditch, there will be no drainage 

M. Drawbridge 

Draw-Bridge, that which is fastened with hinges at 
one end only, so that the other may be drawn up: in 
which case the bridge is almost perpendicular, to 
hinder the passage of a ditch, &c. ,no 

Historic Structure 143 

The earliest known use of drawbridges in mili- 
tary fortification is obscure. By the thirteenth cen- 
tury, entranceways into fortified castles and towns 
of Europe were protected by one or more draw- 
bridges."" Several methods of raising and lower- 
ing drawbridges, which were employed by the 
medieval engineer, survived into the 18th century 
and were put to use at military posts in America. U) '- 

Eighteenth century military handbooks usu- 
ally included a description of several types of 
bridges, including the drawbridge. Descriptions of 
drawbridges were published as late as 1862, and 
military installations in use during the American 
Civil War were frequently equipped with this 

Drawbridges appear more often on fort plans 
drawn during the French and Indian War than on 
those drawn at the time of the American Revolu- 
tion. The writer has found a total of 22 draw- 
bridges in use between 1739 and 1781. 103 

Only four references were found on the draw- 
bridge at Fort Stanwix during the Revolution. The 
post-siege deFleury map includes "J-a draw 
bridge," in its legend, while Willett's Narrative 
makes only a brief mention of such a feature: "In 
front of the gate there had been a drawbridge, cov- 
ered by a salient angle, raised in front of it on the 
glacis." "" There is no mention of a drawbridge 
in either the Willett Orderly Book or Colbraith's 
Diary, but two references to a drawbridge can be 
found in the Orderly Books for the 4th and 2nd 
New York Regiments in 1780: 

p. 541: the Outside Gate and the Draw Bridge are 
to be shut at Retreat Beating, and the Sallee post at 

p. 542: the officer of the Guard is to Instruct the 
Sentinals at the Draw Bridge and Sallee port not to 
Suffer any Strangers nor Indians to Enter the Fort 
without the Command ts permission. 

Based upon the above four references to 
drawbridges at Fort Stanwix, it is proposed to in- 
corporate this feature as part of the main bridge 
at the north end adjacent to the rampart passage- 
way. The draw span would measure roughly 
10 feet 6 inches X 12 feet and have a double tier 
of 3 inches planks supported over stringers. A 
hurter or curb should be laid along each side and 
bolted through the construction work. Reproduction 
hinges should be made to match the large pintle type 

hinges found during the excavation work and these 
should be driven into the end of the hurter, then 
bolted in place. 105 

The lifting mechanism for the drawbridge 
has not been designed yet, but will probably in- 
corporate a set of counterweights, pulleys, and a 
winch operating a wrought iron chain connected to 
the draw span. 

N. Embrasures 

General Stanwix, writing in 1758, envisioned 
his fort with eight embrasures in each bastion and 
three embrasures in two of the curtain walls. 106 
He left the outpost in November of that year with- 
out completing this part of the fortification. Work 
continued the following year, but by the end of 
December only the northwest bastion was finished 
off with a parapet containing six gun embrasures, 
as shown on Crown Map No. 101. 

Work on the parapet must have continued 
sporadically throughout the ensuing years. Crown 
Map No. 103, dated November 19, 1764, shows 
an uneven number of embrasures in the four bas- 
tions and curtain walls. On Crown Map No. 102. 
dated the same year, the embrasures are omitted 
from the plan, although other work is listed as 
having been completed. For the first time in plan, 
three embrasures appear in the ravelin that pro- 
tected the main entrance. These are mentioned in 
the Willett Narrative. 

It can only be assumed that with the size of 
cannon anticipated to be used by the Americans 
at Fort Stanwix after 1776, a substantial parapet 
with embrasures would have been built to protect 
not only the cannon but also the artillerymen. 
This fact seems to be substantiated by studying the 
thre? powder horn plans carved in 1777 and the 
"Gansevoort Map of Fort Stanwix," because em- 
brasures are shown in each one of these plans, 
although their number varies. The Thomson and 
McGraw powder horns and the Gansevoort Map 
show six embrasures in each of the bastions. 
Thomson and Gansevoort also place two em- 
brasures in each of the four curtain walls. A fort 
plan published in Willett's Narrative in 1831 places 
two embrasures in the north and west curtain walls 
and three embrasures in the ravelin. This same plan 
shows ten embrasures in each of the bastions, a 
condition which would not meet the specifications 
for the spacing of embrasures (10 to 12 feet apart). 

144 Fort Stanwix 

The only written source located to date men- 
tioning embrasures is Willett's Narrative: 

The engineer had begun to erect a salient angle to the 
gate, with two cmbasures in it. He was also engaged 
in erecting pickets along the covert way. The pickets 
were placed about three feet from the parapet of the 
glacis. Two of them were framed together with cross- 
pieces, and formed a kind of porthole which were 
intended to be placed opposite the embrasures. . . . 10T 

By the first day of August the wall around the whole 
of the fort was repaired: the parapets were nearly 
raised: embrasures made on three of the bastions: 
horizontal pickets fixed around the walls, and per- 
pendicular pickets around the covert way. The gate 
and the bridge were also made secure, though the 
time had been too short to make any material altera- 
tion in the salient angle, so as to derive any benefit 
from it. The garrison had just finished laying the 
horizontal pickets at night, as the enemy invested the 
fort the next day: but at the time of the arrival of the 
enemy, none of the parapets had been completed. It 
was necessary, therefore, to finish these after the fori 
was regularly invested. . . . 108 

Willett seems to imply that the parapets were 
completed after the siege had begun, but he fails 
to mention if embrasures were used throughout the 

The embrasures should include the following: 
the genouillere, the sole or glacis, the throat, and 
the cheeks or side walls. Embrasure shutters were 
also used on occasion. Embrasures were built either 
direct or oblique to the parapet walls. Oblique em- 
brasures were to be avoided whenever possible as 
they were prone to weaken the parapets. 

The writer envisions the embrasures con- 
structed much like those at Fort Edward, (see 
Illustration No. 18 in the Appendices). The log 
work of the rampart walls should continue another 
six feet above the tcrreplein to form the interior 
slope of the parapet. From this point, the top 
surface of the parapet slopes down 12 inches to 
the front rampart wall to form the superior slope. 
Within this construction the embrasures should be 
laid out from 10 to 12 feet apart, with their 2 feet 
wide throats starting 2Vi feet above the gun plat- 
forms or tcrreplein. The width of the embrasures 
at the exterior slope is 9 feet. The sole or glacis 
should be given a slope of I ' 2 feet to the outside 
or slightk steeper than the angle of the superior 
slope. It was usually sodded. The cheek walls 
should be built with loi>s dovetailed into the outer 

and inner parapet walls. As a result of the logs 
being stacked up one on another, these side wall* 
should be nearly vertical and not splayed as we 
see in some reconstructions. 

If embrasure shutters are used, they should be 
constructed at one side of the throat and either 
hinged to swing or made to slide in front of the 
embrasure, theoretically to protect the artillery- 
men while loading the cannon. 

O. Flagstaff 

Location of the Flagstaff 

The earliest known location of the flagstaff 
at Fort Stanwix is shown on the plan of c. 1759. In 
this drawing the northwest bastion is designated on 
the plan as "C . . . Flag Bastion. . . ." The small 
circle located in the extreme tip of the sailant angle 
may be interpreted as representing the flagstaff. inn 

By 1777, however, the location of the flagstaff 
had changed to the southwest bastion, a position 
much closer to the main entrance of the fort. Docu- 
mentary evidence found to support the fact that 
the flagstaff was located in the southwest bastion 
comes from at least six sources: the post-siege 
deFleury map and the five carved horns. 1 "' Four 
of the five powder horn sketches place the flagstaff 
directly on the southwest bastion, while the fifth 
horn, belonging to James Wilson, places the staff 

near the southwest bastion, but on the parade 
ground. The artist may have taken a certain lib- 
erty and moved the pole aside in order to show a 
sentry box. The McGraw and DeWitt powder 
horns appear to be the most decisive of the lot in 
locating the flagstaff at the tip of the sailent angle. 
a position identical to that shown on the plan of 
c. 1754. 

Design of the Flagstaff 

Contemporary sketches of the period indi- 
cate that many of the military posts used a flagstafl 
consisting of an upper and lower pole."' Then, 
appears to be a marked similarity between a ship"; 
masts and flagstaffs. It has been concluded tha 
Hagstaffs were originally built by ship's carpenters 
This would account for the carryover of the basii 
design of an upper and lower pole, complete will 
cheek boards, trestle trees, cross trees, caps, trucks 
etc. — all component parts of a ship's mast."- 

Historic Structure 145 

The flagstaff used at Fort Stanwix apparently 
was no exception. The double-masted staff shows 
up on four powder horn carvings, the most dis- 
tinctive of these being that of James McGraw. 
McGraw depicts the flagstaff as having an upper 
and lower mast with the flag supported by ropes 
(rather than lashed to the mast). One feature 
shown on the McGraw flagstaff which does not 
conform to period construction drawings is a truck- 
like object appearing just above the top of the 
lower mast. This would seem to indicate that a 
truck was used on both upper and lower masts. 

The James Wilson powder horn is less illustra- 
tive than the McGraw horn. It portrays another 
element found on a ship's masts — the cheek boards 
— but other essential parts of the pole's construc- 
tion arc omitted. The flag is shown supported by 
a rope running to the base of the pole, a feature 
found on all the other powder horn carvings. 

Assuming that flagstaff's were constructed on 
the order of ships' masts, the component parts 
would be as follows: the main mast; the top mast 
with its truck and sheave; and the connection be- 
tween the two masts comprised of trestle trees, 
cross trees, bibs and cheek boards, bolsters, and 
cap piece. 

The height of a ship's main mast was de- 
termined on the basis of an arithmetical relation- 
ship; it was equal to one half the sum of the 
length of the ship plus its width. All other masts 
were of proportional length to the main mast. 
Thus, the lop mast should be three fifths of the 
main mast in height. Diameters of the masts were 
computed in the same manner. The main mast 
was sized according to the type of ship it served 
and the remaining masts were sized proportionately 
to the main mast. 11 ' 

Flagstaff's at military posts would, by their 
very nature of being secured in the ground, have a 
different base than that of ships' masts. The flag- 
staff base found at Fort McHenry in 1958 was in 
the shape of a "Christmas tree stand.' Possibly 
two of these cross piece frames were used at Fort 
; Stanwix, one at parade ground level, +451 feet, 
and the other nearer the terreplein level of the bas- 
tion, at +458 feet. 

P. Fraise 

"The fraise is a horizontal or very inclined 
palisading, placed on the sides of the work or on 

their exterior slopes." m Its purpose was to pre- 
vent a direct escalation of the rampart walls by 
enemy foot soldiers. 

A fraise was first used at Fort Stanwix in 
1759. It appears on Crown Map No. 101 as part 
of Profile A-B, taken through the northeast bas- 
tion. Since the fraise does not appear in the other 
two profile drawings, it is assumed that only the 
northeast bastion was completed in this manner. 
The fraise is shown in profile at the top of the 
rampart wall where the parapet ends en barbette. 
It was placed at the same angle as the superior 
slope and must have been nailed or pegged into the 
top logs of the rampart walls. The fraise projected 
slightly beyond the berm width of six feet. 

The fraise appears in one other plan of Fort 
Stanwix, Crown Map No. 102. Section A-B, taken 
through the rampart walls at the sally port, shows a 
pointed fraise anchored to the superior slope (12°) 
of a seven foot high parapet. The projection of the 
fraise measures six feet beyond the rampart walls. 
It is possible that the parapet was elevated an 
additional 12 inches as it passed over the roof 
of the sally port in order to provide more height 
between the roof and fraise. This could also be 
the case in the south curtain wall as the fraise ap- 
proached the main entrance way. It may have to 
be elevated to the superior slope in order to clear 
the drawbridge and gateway. 

There are several written accounts after the 
American occupation mentioning a fraise at Fort 
Stanwix. 11 "' There are no drawings or powder 
horn engravings from this period that show the 
fraise; therefore, the position of the fraise along 
the rampart wall is conjectural. 

At the present, it can be assumed that the 
fraise will be placed about 12 inches below the 
sole of the gun embrasures. This location will 
permit sod to be laid on the soles of the em- 
brasures and will keep the fraise concealed within 
the ramparts. The fraise was probably elevated to 
the level of the superior slope over the main en- 
trance way and sally port. 

The fraise should be constructed from pointed 
poles (without the bark) about five inches in di- 
ameter, spaced 5 to 6 inches apart, and project 
beyond the rampart walls seven feet. The overall 
length of the fraise will depend upon how the poles 
are secured in place. After cutting and shaping 

146 Fort Stanwix 

of the pointed ends are completed, the poles should 
be pressure treated. 

Q. Gates 

GATE, in a military sense, is made of strong planks 
with iron bars to oppose an enemy. They are generally 
made in the middle of the curtain, from whence they 
are seen and defended by the 2 flanks of the bastions. 
They should be covered with a good ravelin, that they 
may not be seen or enfiladed by the enemy. The 
palisades and barriers before the gates within the 
town are often of great use. 1 " 1 

Most military posts observed a regular routine 
in the opening and closing of gates, which was 
usually outlined very thoroughly in the military 
handbooks." 7 

Outer Gate 

The outer gate was also referred to as a bar- 
rier or "picquet" gate and was usually constructed 
as part of the palisades or picket wall that sur- 
rounded the ramparts. The pickets of the gate 
were generally spaced three to four inches apart 
and were held in place by an upper and lower 
horizontal rail and diagonal strut. Outer gates were 
either made singly or in double sections hinged to 
side posts. "* Most outer gates were secured with 
one or more horizontal wood bars slipped into 
staples or the like. Additional locks would be used, 
either a chain and padlock or an iron rim lock 
with a keeper. 

A picket gate such as the one described above 
was probably used at Fort Stanwix. Crown Maps 
Nos. 99 and 101 both indicate where the outer 
gate was located in the picketed redan. Unfor- 
tunately, the symbol for a gate does not appear on 
either plan so there is no way of knowing whether 
it was built singly or in double sections. Crown 
Map No. 102 also has outer gate posts shown near 
the crest of the parapet cutting through the glacis 
southeast of the ravelin. Again no gate symbol is 
shown but one can assume that a gate was hung 
in this location. 

The Americans found Fort Stanwix without 
a gate in 1776. 110 but by August 27 of that year 
gates had been erected.'-" While it is uncertain 
where these gates were located, word association 
of "pickets and gate" suggests one gate made of 
pickets was erected. 

A garrison order written in the Willett Orderly 
Book on September 2. 1777. states: 

The out Gates to be shut at Dusk on beating the Kong 
Roll. . . . The Keys of the Gates to be delivered to the 
Captain of the Day as soon as Tattooe beating is over, 
who is to be careful in observing that the Gates are 
well locked 

On September 20, 1777. another garrison 
order read: 

The Piquet Gates are to be shut at Dusk & the inner 
Gates of the Fort immediately after Tattooe beating 
and not to be Open'd untill the Revallee is beat, nor 
the Piquet Gates untill the seating of the Troop in 
the Morning — which is to beat at Sun Rise. 

Still another garrison order issued on November 
3. 1777, reads: 

Order'd that the outside Gates be shut every Time for 
the future by dusk in the Evening and not be Opened 
till Roll call in the Morning, at all Times the Guards 
are to parade before the Gates are Open'd. 

Based upon the foregoing information, it is 
proposed to place a picket gate in the picket line 
running around the ravelin in order to close off the 
roadway entrance into the fort. The pickets used 
in the outer gate should be five to six inches in 
diameter, seven feet long, pointed at the top and 
spaced 3 l A to 4 inches apart. The pickets should 
be nailed to two horizontal rails and a diagonal 
strut partly let in. The nails should also be driven 
through the strap hinges mounted to the rails and 
clinched on the outside. The gate should be built 
in two five foot sections and hung on oversize 
pickets. Two horizontal wood bars are proposed 
for obstruction purposes in addition to a chain 
which should be threaded around the pickets of the 
gate, the hinge post, and the horizontal bar. and 
then padlocked in place. 

Ravelin Gate 

Although no ravelin gates are mentioned as 
such, from a military point of view it would be 
desirable to have a solidly planked gate hung in the 
passageway through the ravelin opposite the outer 
picket gate.'-' When this inner gate was closed it 
would protect the stairway entrance to the gun plat- 
forms overhead. This gate would be constructed in 
a manner similar to the main gate discussed below. 

Historic Structure 147 

Main Gate 

The writer is almost certain that there were 
main gates located within the passageway through 
the ramparts. The most conclusive proof of this that 
we have is found in a garrison order dated Novem- 
ber 23, 1780: ". . . and the Brass Field Piece, is to 
be placed in the Center of the parade opposite the 
Gate. . . ." '-- The Willett Orderly Book mentions 
on September 20, 1777, an inner fort gate but it is 
less definitive as to its location: "The Piquet Gates 
are to be shut at Dusk & the inner Gates of the 
!Fort immediately after Tattooe beating. . . ." 

A number of existing forts built after the Revo- 
lution have two sets of doors located within the 
main passageway. Some of these are: Fort Mc- 
Henry, Md.; Forts Warren, Independence, and 
Pickering, Mass.; and Fort Ontario, N.Y. (although 
the second set was never hung, there were provi- 
sions made for this action). The stone blockhouse 
Duilt near the entranceway to Fort Niagara was 
Equipped with two sets of gates in 1770. While this 
■nay not be conclusive proof that double sets of 
jates were used at Fort Stanwix, we can be rea- 
ionably sure that one set of gates was hung. The 
vriter assumes that the proposed drawbridge would 
>;erve the same purpose as the second set of gates 
vhen it was raised against the outside wall of the 

When the main entrance way and bridge area 
vas excavated in 1972, 97 handwrought nails were 
ound, concentrated primarily in two areas located 
under the proposed drawbridge. There were two 
inds of nails, clinched and straight, with chisel 
>oints and somewhat of rose head. The majority 
)f nails (63) were clinched over between 6% 
iches and 7 inches in length. Those nails were 
robably used in the construction of the main gate 
/hich would, in effect, make each leaf of the gate 
inches thick. 

A similar gate construction was found in the 

xcavations at Fort Beausejour. a British built fort 

l Nova Scotia. Much of the gate remains un- 

Dvered in situ: strap hinges, dead bolts, bolt keep- 

rs. staples, spikes and planking. The gate was 

uilt with two leaves, each five feet wide and five 

iches thick. Each leaf appeared to be constructed 

cf two layers of 2Vi inch thick plank laid perpen- 

< icular to one another, then spiked together with 

\i l A inch Ions rose headed nails, double clinched on 

one side. The strap hinges were fabricated in a 
"U" shape to slip over the back of the door. Large 
flat headed nails were driven through both oppos- 
ing hinges and clinched against the metal on one 
side. The hinges were made of 5/16 inch thick 
stock, AVi inches wide and 4 feet 4 inches long. 
Two dead bolts were used on the doors, one with a 
hasp-like handle that slipped over a staple, permit- 
ting padlock to be used. 

A smaller T-strap hinge was also found in the 
Beausejour excavation, suggesting that a wicket 
door was built into one leaf of the main gate. 
Wicket doors provided access through the main 
gate and at the same time provided more security 
for the fort by allowing the main gates to remain 
closed. 123 At least two other accounts have been 
found of wicket doors used in the 18th century 
fortifications. 1 - 4 

The following construction is proposed for the 
main gates: planks V/i inches thick should be used, 
with leaves approximately 6 feet 3 inches wide and 
10 feet high, composed of two layers of plank held 
together by nails clinched through on six inch in- 
tervals; a wicket door, 24 inches X 48 inches, 
should b: cut into one leaf and the main leaves 
hung with "U" shaped strap hinges, measuring 
% inches X 4Vi inches ± 5 feet 3 inches. The 
wicket door should be hung with a pair of "T" strap 
hinges and furnished with sliding metal dead bolts. 
Two wooden bars should be used to secure the 
main gates after they are closed and a large iron 
rim lock should be mounted on the interior of the 
main gate. 

Sally Port Gate 

A single picket gate is proposed for the gap 
shown in the redan which protects the sally port. 
This gate should be constructed from 6 inches 
diameter pickets held together by two rails and a 
diagonal strut, and should be hung to the side 
picket post by strap hinges. This gate should be 
barred and secured with a chain and padlock much 
like the outer picket gate. 

R. Gate Locks 

Some sort of locks were used on the gates at 
Fort Stanwix. An entry in Willett's Orderly Book 
on September 2. 1777, reads: "The Keys of the 

148 Fort Stanwix 

Gates to be delivered to the Captain of the Day 
as soon as Tattooe beating is over, who is to be 
carefull in observing that the Gates are well locked. 
..." A garrison order issued by the 4th New York 
Regiment on November 27, 1780, reads: ". . . the 
Command' Expects that the Officers Appointed for 
Duty will be Very Circumspect in Examining the 
works. Gate Locks, and Everything Which may 
come under their Inspection. . . ." 125 

Six or more keys, two of which were small 
(padlock?) keys, were uncovered in the excavation. 
One of these smaller keys was found at the ravelin 
passageway and one near the redan of the sally 
port, which tends to support the theory that pad- 
locks were used on the outer picket gates. One 
seven inch key was found in the trench fronting 
the ravelin and appears to have been made for a 
large iron rim lock which would had to have been 
mounted on a reasonably smooth surface such as 
that of the plank gates proposed for the passage- 
way through the ravelin and ramparts (the main 
gates). As a result of these discoveries it is pro- 
posed to use large iron rim locks on the ravelin 
gates and the main gates, and a smaller iron rim 
lock on the east door to the sally port passageway. 
In most instances small wood cased stock locks 
could be substituted for the iron rim locks. In 
fact the wooden stock lock would be more appro- 
priate on the doors opening into bombproofs where 
powder might be stored. 

S. Glacis 

The glacis is that part of the sloping earthworks 
built outside the ditch surrounding the ramparts 
The purpose of the glacis was to provide a long 
uninterrupted section of ground which faced the 
fortifications, was easily observable by the sentries, 
and was capable of being covered by gunfire from 

Only one section of the glacis was located 
during the excavation work. The parapet o\' the 
glacis started ten feet away from the counterscarp 
of the ditch and rose to a height of si\ feet IL ' ,; 
at an angle of 40 .'-'• From the crest of the para- 
pet the earth was gradually sloped down to the 
original mound level in a distance of 75 feet (as 
scaled off Crown Map No. 102). 

In the early plans of Fort Stanwix. the glacis 
is shown only on three sides of the fort: north. 

west, and south. The engineers apparently selected 
this site because the land to the east dropped off 
some 19 feet to the lowlands fronting the banks 
of the Mohawk River, and this sharp drop-off of 
land eliminated the need for a glacis on the east 
side of the fort. Plans drawn in 1 764 show that the 
glacis terminated in a blunt end as it reached the 
tips of the northeast and southeast bastions. 

The glacis was also built around the salient 
angle of the ravelin that protected the main en- 
trance to the fort. A roadway was cut through the 
glacis on the southeast side of the salient angle 
to provide the only means of access into the fort 
other than the sally port. 

A secondary glacis was constructed around 
the small triangular redoubt protecting the sally- 
port and scaled about 32 feet in width off the north 
and south flanks of the picket line (Crown Map No. 
102). The parapet or scarp of the glacis began at 
the top surface of the interior earth banquette and 
rose 4'/2 feet in height at an angle of 40V- S 

According to the notes found on Crown Map 
No. 102, the scarps and covered way were sodded. 
After the glacis has been built up with earth, it is 
proposed to sod its scarp (or parapet) and seed 
the remaining ground. 

T. Guardhouse 

This building stood on the left or west side of 
the main entrance gate on the parade ground, but 
no physical evidence of the structure was found 
during the archeological work. The first known 
written reference to a guardhouse at Fort Stanwix 
is that found on October 6. 1776: 
The Colonel expects for the future the relief will turn 
out without so much noise, as every one is to keep at 
the guard house and turn out at the first call. 129 

The above garrison order is interpreted as 
specifying a guardhouse where the change of guard 
sta\s while on duty, not where prisoners are con- 

The second mention o\' a guardhouse is earlj 
in 1777 in an engineer's report to General Gates: 
". . . has made a guard house at the entrj of the 
Fort which before his arrival was behind." ,:! " 
This report suggests that a new guardhouse was 
creeled at the entry to the fort possibl) in the same 
location as that shown on the various post-sieee 

Historic Structure 149 

maps and powder house — that is, on the west or left 
hand side of the main entrance. 

It is not clear how the new guardhouse was 
used. According to Willett's Orderly Book, kept 
for the 3rd N.Y. Regiment, the building was used 
in part for confining soldiers who were sentenced 
by the military court. ,::1 During the occupation of 
Fort Stanwix by the 4th and 2nd N.Y. Regiments, 
sometime between November 20, 1780, to June 10. 
1781, soldiers under sentence were apparently 
confined to one of the bombproofs. i:iL ' The explana- 
tion for this change in usage might be attributed 
to the burning of the guardhouse in April 1780 and 
the rebuilding of a new structure within two weeks 
time. 15 ' Perhaps the new guardhouse was too 
small to confine soldiers and still provide room for 
those on guard duty. 

The pictorial evidence found on the James 
McGraw powder horn has been used as the basis 
for the design of the exterior of the guardhouse: 

(1) Foundation dimensions of the main build- 
ing should be 16 feet X 20 feet; dimensions of the 
west lean-to, 8 feet X 12 feet. (Conjectural 

(2) The building should be frame, utilizing 
ioost and sill construction; walls should be covered 

vith weatherboards and the gable roof with wood 
ihingles; there should be a central chimney in the 
nain building and a single end wall chimney in 
he lean-to; wood sleepers should be used for un- 
lerpinning (based in part on the powder horn). 

(3) There should be three exterior doorways 
vith board and batten doors; five windows with 
)utside shutters (based in part on the powder horn); 
ind two interior doors. 

(4) As suggested by the location of the cen- 
ral chimney, the interior of the main guardhouse 
hould be divided into two rooms separated by a 
louble fireplace, while the lean-to would consist 
if one room with a fireplace against the west wall. 
"he powder horn shows a gabled roof over the 
ian-to which is a determining factor when figuring 
he width and height of the addition. 

(5) The interior room finish should be similar 
3 that of the barracks, with the walls and ceilings 
ned with unpainted horizontal boards. Each room 

| hould have a fireplace and lighting should be fur- 
) ish by candles. The floor should be covered with 
Wide floor boards, and planed and face nailed with 
' L" or "T"-headed, handwrought nails. vu There 

should be access to an attic room (probably a wall 
ladder and trap door were used) according to the 
description available of the guardhouse fire in 1780. 
See footnote No. 133. 

(6) The use of eave troughs is recommended 
for catching rainwater and diverting it into rain 

I . Headquarters Building 

No remains of this building were found during 
the excavation period, but two written references 
to the headquarters have been found, in addition 
to the six drawings. 115 The exterior appearance, at 
least on the south and east walls, is based on the 
McGraw powder horn drawing and should be as 

( 1 ) Foundation dimensions of 20 feet X 56 
feet with a lean-to 10 feet X 14 feet (conjectural 

(2) It should be a frame building with a gable 
roof and two chimney stacks as shown on the 
powder horn. (See Item No. 2 under East Bar- 
racks.) Sleepers should be set directly on the 
ground for the underpinning. 

(3) There should be four doorways into the 
main building and one doorway into the lean-to 
along the south wall as shown on the powder 

(4) No windows are shown on the powder 
horn drawing but there is mention of closing win- 
dows in the Gansevoort's dining room.'" 1 Two win- 
dow openings equipped with board and batten shut- 
ters are proposed for each room. 

(5) The interior room arrangement is con- 
jectural. The chimney stacks suggest four rooms 
in this building: one room for the commandant, 
one for the officer second in command, one dining 
room doubling as a staff room, and one room for 
two staff officers. The lean-to room could have 
one or more uses: for wood storage and an officers' 
privy; for lodging of an orderly assigned to the 
commandant (although it is not heated); or for 
storage of supplies for the staff officers. 

(6) The interior room finish is conjectural, 
but as suggested for the barracks building, the 
walls and ceilings could be lined with horizontal 
boards; hand planed and unpainted. Perhaps the 
wall posts and ceiling beams (summers) could also 
be encased with smoothed boards having a small 

1 50 Fort Stanwix 

beaded edge. Closets should be provided in these 
rooms on one side of the chimney stack at least. 
Lighting should be furnished by candles and 

(7) The use of eave troughs to catch rain- 
water is recommended. 

V. Hospital 

HOSPITAL, a place appointed for the sick and 
wounded men, provided with a number of physicians, 
surgeons, nurses, servants, medicines, beds, &c. 

Regimental-Hospitals are frequently in barns, stables, 
graneries, and other out-houses. . . , 187 

The first mention after 1758 ' !S of a hospital 
at Fort Stanwix is in 1776: "Visited the sick in 
their old lousy hospital, which represents such a 
scene of wretchedness that one could hardly bear 
to behold the abject souls therein confined." 139 
Another reference to a hospital was found on June 
2, 1777: "No provisions to be issued to the Sick 
belonging to the Hospital but by the Orders of the 
Surgeon." "° 

It is thought that the southwest bombproof 
served as a temporary hospital during the siege 
of the fort. Colbrath's Dairy reads on August 22: 
"While they were out the woman that was wounded 
with a shell last Night was brought to Bed in our 
S W Bomb proof of a Daughter She and child are 
like to do well with the Blessing of God." ,41 

Copies of two returns list the sick in the gar- 
rison at Fort Stanwix for March and April of 1778. 
The March return lists 10 men sick in the "Hos- 
pital" and 22 men sick and confined to quarters. "'-' 
The April term lists 8 men sick in the "Garrison 
Hospital." 12 sick in "Genl. Hospital." and 22 
men sick in Quarters. 143 

A garrison order for 1781 reads in part: "The 
Drummers and Fifers are ordered to practise in 
the old hospital from the hours of ten in the morn- 
ing till twelve OCIock, and from three in the After- 
noon till four, when not on Duty, Sundays 
excepted." ' " 

The post-siege "Ganscvoort May of Fort Stan- 
wix" shows a building marked "Hospital" standing 
at the foot of the glacis opposite the southeast 
bastion. It appears that this is the only building 
that can be positively identified as a hospital. The 
1778 return for the sick lists a garrison hospital 

and a general hospital. More information is needed 
on the period of fort occupancy from 1776-1781 
before areas within the fort can be designated as 
hospital rooms. 

W. Laboratory 

LABORATORY, signifies the Place where the Fire- 
Works and Bombardeers prepare their Stores. 145 

Laboratory and armory were terms used in- 
terchangeably by the military engineers. They de- 
noted a place where bullets were molded, mortar 
shells and grenades filled and fuses prepared. 
The deFleury map is our only source of documen- 
tation that uses the word laboratory, referring in 
the legend to a "G-Laboratory" which occupied 
part of the west barracks. Other than a brick 
hearth, no evidence was found during the excava- 
tions to support the statement that a laboratory 
was located in this building. 

More conclusive evidence was found in the 
southwest bombproof where sprue was uncovered 
at the floor level. A laboratory could also have 
been located in the southwest casemate, where 
there was a hard packed clay floor and a centrally 
located double fireplace, both useful in the manu- 
facture of musket balls, etc. 

Lacking sufficient evidence, the archeologists 
have not been able to designate any particular area 
or room as a laboratory. Perhaps more evidence 
will be found at a later date to substantiate its 

X. Merlon 

MERLON, in fortification, that part of the parapet 
which is terminated by 2 embrasures of a battery, so 
that its height and thickness are the same with those 
of the parapet. It serves to cover those on the battery 
from the enemy, and is better when made of earth, 
well rammed and beat close, than of stone, because 
these fly about, and wound those it should defend. ,4fi 
The construction of merlons is discussed un- 
der the headings Embrasures and Parapet. 

Y. Mess 

"The men of each Company should be divided 
into messes, each mess consisting of four or six men 
or according to the number in each room. . . ." u 

The practice of dividing soldiers up into smal 
groups or messes, in which each man would tak< 

Historic Structure 151 

his turn cooking, continued after the Revolution. 
Provisions were issued one day each week to the 
garrison. 14 * Food was cooked in the fireplaces 
and the men were expected to eat their meals in 
the barracks. Each room was to be provided with 
2 iron pots, 2 trammels, 1 pair tongs, 1 wood axe, 
1 iron candlestick, 1 table, 2 benches and 1 
bucket. U! ' 

The officers were assigned "waiters" who 
were responsible for cooking their food, 1 "'" which 
was probably prepared for most of the officers in 
the barrack room where each of the "waiters" was 
assigned. The Commandant and his top staff mem- 
1 bers probably ate together in a dining room located 
in the headquarters building. 1 "' 1 

Iron pots with bails and "S" shaped hooks 
were found in the excavations. Although no tram- 
mels were found, the pots and hooks uncovered 
imply that trammels were used to suspend the 
iron pots over a fire. All fireplaces should have an 
iron bar placed across their throat from which to 
hang cooking utensils. 

Z. Necessary 

One, if not two, necessaries appear on 
ithe initial plan of Fort Stanwix drawn in 1758. lr> - 
The smallest of the 19 buildings shown no the pa- 
rade ground is interpreted as being an officers' 
privy. It is located near the center of the small 
"huts" built "for officers" and is drawn with a floor 
plan similar to that of the second necessary, that 
is, with a seat containing two holes. The structure 
may have lasted until c. 1764, when the interior 
r ort buildings were removed and two new barracks 
md possibly a headquarters building were con- 
structed. 1V ' None of the other plans drawn during 
he British occupation of 1758-c. 1772 record the 
existence of a necessary. 

The second necessary shown on the plan of 
1758 is the one of greater concern. Although its 
:xistence is not recorded in other plans dated be- 
ween 1758 and 1764, this structure could have 
'ery easily survived the nineteen-year span from 
! 758 to 1777 without a great deal of deterioration. 
This is because the structure was built completely 
tbove the ground where little rotting would occur 
ind secondly, it would have been important for 
he garrison to keep this particular building in good 
epair. Even though the British army dismantled 
ts regular garrison at Fort Stanwix in I 767, two or 

more soldiers were stationed here as late as 
1771, 1 "' 4 and probably gave some attention to the 
maintenance of this building. 

The 1758 plan shows this necessary as pro- 
jecting beyond the east rampart wall of the south- 
east bastion. The building scales 12 feet X 22 feet 
and it was apparently divided into two compart- 
ments, possibly for use by both officers and soldiers. 
Included in the same drawing is an elevation view 
of the structure that shows it to have been built 
20 feet above the ground and reached by a foot- 
bridge, scaling 7 feet wide and 58 feet long. 

The colonial draftsman does not provide 
enough information in his drawing to make it 
possible to distinguish if the structure was of 
squared logs or frame construction. It appears to 
have had a bombproof ceiling constructed of 
planks about eight inches thick. The only indica- 
tions of wall and roof construction are the double 
lines drawn at the two building corners and those 
drawn parallel to the roof slope. They could mean 
that the walls, including the gable ends, were con- 
structed of squared logs, ,r,r ' or that the building was 
framed in the traditional way using the sill, post, 
and girt system. If the walls were built with 
squared logs, the artist has failed to show the dove- 
tail jointing at the corners that appears in the 
accompanying casemate drawing. Yet if the ceil- 
ing was bombproof it would seem logical that the 
walls were made equally as strong. This was the 
construction method used when the sally port 
passageway was built in c. 1764. ir,,; It seems to 
be a matter of choice between log and frame 

At the base of the necessary, a small run of 
water was apparently diverted from one of the 
nearby prevailing streams and channeled directly 
under the structure to provide a continuous flush- 
ing away of human discharge. During the siege of 
1777, the British managed to block off this stream 
of water and probably prevented the use of the 
necessary, even possibly to the point of destroying 
it.'"' 7 

Three weeks after the siege ended, another 
necessary was ordered to be built within the fort. ir,K 
Soldiers were forbidden to use the "Necessary 
House within the Fort in the day time, the one in 
the Ditch being designed for that Purpose. . . ." 158 
While this garrison order does not explicitly refer 

I 52 Fort Stanwix 

to the elevated necessary, it does suggest that there 
was one located outside the rampart walls. 

At least three documented sources exist that 
either suggest or prove that an elevated privy ex- 
isted after the siege. The most conclusive evidence 
on hand is a perspective plan drawing of Fort Stan- 
wix executed some time after the siege. " ;0 An 
elevated structure connected by a footbridge to 
the east rampart wall of the southeast bastion is 
identified as a "Necessary House." The drawing 
shows a much longer and more complicated bridge 
structure than does the plan of 1758. and the privy 
itself has just a simple shed roof. This difference 
could mean a second construction. 

The James Wilson powder horn, dated be- 
tween November, 1778. and November. 1780. also 
shows an elevated necessary projecting off the 
same bastion." 11 Like the post-siege drawing men- 
tioned above, it shows a long footbridge, but the 
privy building is drawn with a gable roof, not a 
shed roof. Both drawings depict two doorways 
which indicates the interior was divided into two 
compartments. The powder horn carving reveals 
another significant feature — a sentry box located 
near the entrance to the footbridge. All soldiers 
using the necessary after 9 p.m. were required to 
identify themselves to the sentry on duty." - ' 2 This 
garrison order would not have been needed if the 
privy had been located on the parade ground. 

There is precedent in military fortifications 
for building necessary houses beyond the protec- 
tion of the rampart walls. Early French fortifica- 
tions in Europe were commonly built with latrines 
overhanging the exterior walls, as was Fort Char- 
ties, the French built fortification located in the 
Illinois country. 183 One early Fnglish built fort 
having a necessary overhanging the parapet was 
William and Mary, erected in 170?. and two ele- 
vated necessaries having an almost identical ap- 
pearance to the ones built at Fort Stanwix were 
located at Fort Fdward (1756) and at Saratoga 
(1757) ."■■' 

A A. Parade 

The parade within a fort is the open area 
where troops are assembled for mounting guard, 
for exercising, for reviewing the guard, for in- 
specting arms, for holding divine services, or for 
witnessing the execution of punishment. Artificers 
were also assembled on the parade and at times 

parleys were held there with the Indians. During 
1778, provisions were stacked on the parade 
ground for want of room elsewhere. 10,3 

It is probable that a gun platform existed on 
the parade ground prior to and during the siege, 
which would accommodate the three pound field 
piece that was used on the two or more sallies 
from the fort. In 1780 a new platform was directed 
to be built for the brass field piece. In part, the 
garrison order read: 

Cap' Moody will Guard the Magazine by his men. 
and the Brass Field Piece, is to be placed in the center 
of the parade opposite the Gate. . . . 16fl 

("apt Moody will apply to M r Tucker for to have a 
platform made for the Brass field piece in the place 
Directed." 17 

Other features that must have been located 
on the parade ground were two or more wells l6S 
and a whipping post." ,!l The exact locations of 
these features were not found during the excavation 
work but there is a possibility that they may be 
uncovered when construction work strips off the 
present topsoil down to parade ground level. 

On or more necessaries were located on the 
parade ground either during the siege or shortly 
thereafter. The archeologists have identified one 
excavation near the center of the parade as a ne- 
cessary pit. 

The parade ground level has been established 
by the archeologists as 45 1 .00 feet. As best as can 
be judged, its top surface was the hard packed allu- 
vial soil found at the site. 

BB. Parapet 

Parapet, in fortification, is a part of the rampart of a 
work, of 18 or 20 feet broad, and raised 6 or 7 feet 
above the rest of the rampart: it serves to cover the 
troops placed there to defend the work against the fire 
of the enemy.' 70 

The first parapet at Fort Stanwix was built 
around the northwest bastion. It was constructed 
iif two walls of squared timbers, twenty feet wide, 
held together by cross ties and filled with earth 
topped off with sod t w ght of 5 feet 6 inches. 

I he parapet in this instance was just an extension of 
the basic log cribbing built from the ground up- 
ward. 171 This same construction shows up in a 
cross section through the sally port that was drawn 
in I7o4. except that here the height of the parapet 

Historic Structure 153 

scales seven feet. A fraise is shown fixed to the 
top of the parapet. 172 

Without any construction drawings of the fort 
after 1764, it can only be assumed that the Ameri- 
cans would build their parapets in the same man- 
ner as their former British compatriots. In late 
April 1777, Capt. de Lamarquise wrote that "He 
proposes to raise the parapet with cedar. . . ." ,7:! 
Willett, writing from Fort Dayton on August 11, 
1777, stated: "On the enemy's arrival before the 
fort the parapet was still uncompleted and for 
several days and nights the garrison labored at this 
task as best it could. . . ." m In Willett's Narrative 
(1831), he speaks of the engineer placing pickets 
having framed portholes "opposite the neck of the 
embrasures." 17r ' This statement would imply that 
part of the parapet was constructed and possibly 
completed before the siege began. 

The "Gansevoort Map of Fort Stanwix" shows 
embrasures in the bastions and curtain walls. Since 
this plan was completed after the siege, it is less 
reliable as to the condition of the fort prior to 
August 22. The powder horns owned by Thomson 
and McGraw show embrasures, again indicating the 
existence of a parapet. 

Because of a lack of conclusive evidence con- 

I cerning the parapets during the siege, it is recom- 
mended that the fort be presented in its completed 
condition. This would mean raising the log cribbed 
walls of the ramparts six feet above the terreplein. 
Their thickness should correspond with that of the 
log cribbing below (from ten to twenty feet). The 
logs should be flatted on the upper and lower 
surfaces, half-lapped and pegged at the splices, 

1 but dovetailed at the interesection with the cheek 
walls of the embrasures. The top surface or su- 
perior slope should then be covered with sod. 

CC. Pickets 

Pickets were used to prevent the enemy foot 
soldier from having direct access to the rampart 
walls. Pickets at Fort Stanwix were first placed 
in the center of the ditch in 1758. In 1764 when 
repair work was done on the fort, the pickets were 
left in the bottom of the l. ' except along the east 
side of the fort, where they were placed on the 
berm. ,7,i 

In 1777, the French engineer assigned to the 
works by General Schuyler decided that the proper 
place for the pickets was on the covered way. Wil- 

lett's Narrative carries a running account of the 
difficulty encountered by the engineer in carrying 
out his plans. Ultimately, the engineer was relieved 
of his post as a result of his miscalculations.' 77 

Good documentary evidence exists that the 
pickets still stood on the covered way in 1781 when 
the fort was destroyed, 17S although the post-siege 
deFleury map is the only plan available of the 
fort that shows the picket line standing here. It 
even has one questionable feature — the covered 
way and pickets are shown encircling all four sides 
of the fort. However it is doubtful that a covered 
way was ever built on the east side. 

In 1862, a newspaper article was written de- 
scribing Fort Stanwix. In part it states that the east 
side of the fort was "not protected by earthworks; 
but instead three rows of pickets, ten to 12 feet in 
length and sharpened at the top were placed in the 
ground. . . ." The article continues on to describe 
the blockhouse that was built in 1792. 17!l It is 
probable that the picketed east wall, if it ever 
existed, was built at the same time as the block- 
house. No evidence of a three row palisade 
was found within the limited amount of ground 
excavated on the east side of the fort. 

The picket line of 1758 was located in the 
bottom of the ditch on the north side of the fort 
where the butt ends of forty-one pickets have been 
found lined up near the center of the ditch. The 
diameters of the pickets varied between 6 and 
12 inches while the most common spacing between 
post was found to be 6 inches. 

The archeologists did not find any evidence of 
the picket line built in 1777, although a short 
section of the covered way was exposed opposite 
the southeast bastion. The only clue found that 
indicated where the picket line might have stood 
on the covered way was a trench, 2.5 feet deep, 
dug at the base of the scarp to the glacis. The 
archeologists believe that this trench represents the 
location of the palisade. 

According to Willett's Narrative, the length of 
the pickets was 10 feet. 180 This would leave 7.5 
feet of the post extending above the ground, minus 
whatever amount was axed to form a point on the 
end. This would place the tip of the picket about 
12 inches above the glacis, a height comparable 
to that shown in Section A-B on Crown Map 
No. 102. 

Section A-B also shows the method used in 
1 764 of setting up a picket line. In this particular 

54 Fort Stanwix 

drawing, the section is taken through the center 
iine of the redoubt at the east end of the sally port. 
The pickets measure 5'/2 feet high, are spaced 
approximately six inches apart, and have a hori- 
zontal ribband attached to them at a distance of 
1 Vi feet below their pointed tips. The pickets may 
have been notched to receive the ribband which 
was cither nailed or pegged to each post. 

Eleven of the pickets used to form the redoubt 
were found in a location very similar to that shown 
on the 1764 plan. They measured about six inches 
in diameter and were placed at random intervals 
ranging from three to six inches apart. This irregular 
spacing suggests that the pickets were placed in a 
trench one at a time rather than erected in a pre- 
fabricated panel. It should be noticed in the 
engineer's drawing that the tops of the pickets are 
shown at a uniform height above the ground and 
about 12 inches above the crest of the glacis 
scarp. 1SI 

While the pickets of the sally port redoubt 
were found to have random spacing, the archeol- 
ogists believe (based on evidence found during 
excavation of the 1758 picket line) that the pickets 
placed on the covered way were spaced more 
uniformly at six inches. 

It is proposed to place the picket line on the 
covered way around three sides of the fort — north, 
south, and west — while along the east side the 
pickets should be placed on the berm as shown on 
Crown Map No. 103. The pickets should consist 
of ten foot long, peeled poles, 6 to 8 inches in 
diameter, with one end sharpened to a point with 
an axe. They should be spaced approximately six 
inches apart and held in place with a IV2 inches X 
6 inches ribband let into the post AV2 feet above the 
ground. The ribband should be rough sawn, show- 
ing vertical saw marks, and should be fastened to 
each picket with a treenail. Pickets, treenails, and 
ribband should all be pressure treated to the point 
of refusal after cutting and fitting is completed. 
The pickets should be placed in a vertical position 
rather than inclined. 

DD. Platforms 

Crown Map No. 101 is the only known draw- 
ing that shows the type of gunnery platforms used 
at Fort Stanwix. It indicates that six gun platforms 
were built in each bastion during 1759. although 
in the preceding year General Stanwix had ordered 

a total of 40 iron guns, 8 mortars, and 2 howitzers 
to be sent to the fort. A note added to this ordnance 
demand lists 8 embrasures in each bastion and 3 
embrasures in two of the curtain walls, making a 
total of 38 pieces. 1 s - It is unlikely that the fort was 
ever equipped with such a formidable arsenal. 

Crown Map No. 102, drawn in 1764, has a 
reference note that reads: "The Bastions 1 and 2 
are compleatly finished, at the others, Platforms 
must be laid also the Banquets made." No infor- 
mation is given as to whether the platforms were 
to be made for cannon or mortars. If platforms 
had been built in 1759, as stated, and needed 
replacing by 1764, the life expectancy of the 
exposed woodwork was only 5 years. 

It is believed that the roofs of the casemates 
were intended to be utilized as gun platforms. If 
one examines the plans of 1758 and c. 1759, a 
cross section through the casemate and curtain wall 
can be seen which shows the roof sloped down 
toward the parapet. If there was no intention of 
using the top surface of the casemates as gun 
platforms, it would seem likely that the roof slope 
would pitch slightly away from the parapet to 
permit drainage of water. The ordnance list men- 
tioned above indicates that two of the curtain 
walls were to have three embrasures. 

Again, if we examine Crown Map No. 103, 
dated 1764, which looks very much like a field 
drawing, embrasures are shown in all of the curtain 
walls. On Crown Map No. 102, also dated 1764, 
a section drawn through the east curtain wall and 
sally port shows the casemate roof (level rather 
than sloped) at the same height above the 
ground as in 1758. In 1764, all of the casemates 
arc described as "in very bad order and mostly 

The ravelin protecting the main gate and 
bridge area is shown in 1764 as having embrasures 
built into its parapet wall. 

It appears to have a continuous wood platform 
built around its inner salient angle with a stairway 
shown at the north end. Very little information is 
available on the ravelin or "salient angle" prior to 
or after the siege of August 1777. 

On November 24. 1780. Captain Moody, 
officer in charge of the artillery, was instructed "to 
have a platform made for the Brass field piece . . . 
placed in the Center of the parade opposite the 
(Kite. . . ." '" :; The placement of a field piece on 
the parade ground pointing toward the main gate 

Historic Structure 155 

seems to have been a standard procedure carried 
out by most military posts. There was probably a 
platform built in this same location soon after the 
occupation of the fort in July 1776; certainly by 
the time of the siege in 1777, a platform must have 
existed on which to station the field piece used in 
the sallies outside the fort on August 2 and 6. 1S4 

Gun platforms were still in use at Fort Stanwix 
in 1781 when a garrison order was issued to the 
officers ". . . to not suffer their men to incumber 
the platforms or alarm posts in the Bastions." 185 

The construction of gun platforms is well de- 
scribed in several military dictionaries of the 1 8th 
and early 19th centuries. 1 m 

Platforms were of two kinds — "common plat- 
forms for gun batteries" and "platforms for mortar 
batteries" — both being built as separate units and 
spaced according to the directions of the engineer 
or artillerist in charge of the works. 

A few military posts were planned with solidly 
built platforms, in addition to these separately built 
platforms, but they were the exception rather than 
the rule. 187 

Plantforms were of two basic shapes; trape- 
zoidal forms used for gun batteries, and square 
forms used for mortar batteries. There is no record 
of mortars being used at Fort Stanwix from June 
16, 1776, through August 23, 1777, at which time 
four royals or mortars were captured from the 
retreating British Army. 188 Therefore it is assumed 
that all of the platforms built in the bastions would 
have been trapezoidal in shape and used exclusively 
for guns. 

Dimensions given for gun platforms vary 
somewhat in the military dictionaries, but generally 
they were 18 feet long, 8 feet wide along the short 
side near the embrasure, and 15 feet wide at the 
opposite end. They consisted of five basic parts: 
sleepers, stakes, the heurtoir, planks, and battery 

The average sizes for these various component 
parts are as follows: (1) sleepers, 6 inches square, 
18 feet long, held in place by wooden stakes driven 
on each side of each piece at both ends, then cut 
off flush with the top surface of the sleeper; (2) 
the heurtoir, 8 inch square, 8 feet long, laid on 
top of the sleepers against the embrasure; (3) oak 
plants, 2'/2 inches thick ± Vi inch), 12 inches wide 
(±3 inches), and varying in length from 8 feet to 
15 feet; (4) battery nails made from oak, 1 Vs inches 

(±Ve inch) in diameter, tapered and about 9 inches 

Five or more sleepers, laid in trenches, were 
used to support the planks. They were given a slope 
of 9 inches from the back of the platform down 
toward the embrasure, which afforded the proper 
amount of resistance to the gun recoil and prevented 
its rolling off the platform after firing. It also per- 
mitted the artillerists to move the gun carriage back 
into position when loading was completed. After 
the sleepers were properly sloped and staked, earth 
was rammed between the sleepers flush with the 
top surface. This prevented further movement of 
the platform and provided additional support under 
the planks in ease the gun carriage had to be 
shifted off its directrix. 

The heurtoir was placed directly over the 
sleepers and abutting the embrasure. The purpose 
of the heurtoir was to prevent the gun carriage 
wheels from damaging the parapet. 

Oak planks were fastened directly to the 
sleepers, with battery nails or treenails (tapered 
wooden pins) used instead of iron spikes in order 
to prevent sparks from the ironbound carriage 
wheels. Ends of the planks were cut on a bias 
conforming to the angular shape of the sleepers. 
Earth was then tamped around the edges and ends 
of the planks to give a smooth surface to the 
platforms and terreplein. 

Wherever it was found necessary to make an 
embrasure oblique, the platform was so placed that 
its center line would fall under the directrix of the 
oblique embrasure. One end of the heutoir was 
moved away from the embrasure and fixed with 
stakes, and then the space between the embrasure 
and the heurtoir was filled with rammed earth. 189 

The earth between the platforms must be 
smoothed over and if possible sloped to the rear of 
the battery. If this is not possible, then drainage 
must be provided at the base of the embrasure in 
the form of cesspools — shallow holes filled with 
stones, twigs, etc., into which surface water enters 
and is absorbed by the earth. 100 Modern construc- 
tion should incorporate a concealed catch basin and 
drainage system as an integral part of each cesspool. 

Midway of the space between each platform 
and to the left side, a rack must be provided to 
hold the implements used to service each cannon. 
Two wooden frames, placed 9 feet apart, should be 
constructed consisting of two stakes, 2Vi feet long, 
driven about a foot into the ground and crossing 

156 Fort Stanwix 

each other at right angles approximately 9 inches 
above the ground. A match rope should be used to 
bind the two stakes together, 1111 Another type of 
rack used was the tripod. 

EE. Ramp 

RAMPS, in fortification, are sloping communications, 
or ways of very gentle ascent, leading from the inward 
area, or lower part of a work, to the rampart or higher 
part of it. 192 

Ramps were usually constructed of earth, then 
covered with sod to prevent erosion. They were 
used principally in the throats of bastions where 
their sloping surface provided the easiest way of 
moving cannon in and out of the bastions. Ramps 
also provided an unobstructed path for the artillery- 
men to move from parade ground level to their 
gunnery positions on the terreplcin. Earthen 
banquettes required ramps as the most practical 
and economical way of stabilizing the soil from 
which they were built. 

Symbols for ramp construction at the bastions 
are shown on Crown Maps Nos. 99, 100, and 101, 
for 1758 and 1759. All the ramps are depicted as 
occupying the full throat of the bastion except at 
the southeast bastion which contained a powder 
magazine and root cellar. The ramp here was built 
in the center of the throat between the entrance 
ways to these two features. 

Only one ramp symbol is shown on Crown 
Map No. 102, drawn in 1764. None of the other 
plans, including the powder horn engravings, show 
ramps but it is assumed that they were used. The 
Americans apparently erected bombproof structures 
with long passageways in each bastion, thereby 
complicating the construction of the ramps up to 
the terreplein level. The proposed ramps will have 
to he built around the walls and ceilings of the 
bombproofs after they are finished. 

If the sodded ramps start to erode after they 
are built, there are two ways of correcting this 
within the historical context: one method would be 
to corrugate the ramp with small poles 3 inches 
to 3'/2 inches in diameter, the second method would 
be to place small oval shaped stones in the ground 
2 or 3 inches apart and permit grass to grow in 

FF. Ramparts 

By the 17th century, the high, fortified 
masonry walls and towers used in European de- 
fenses were giving way to lower but thicker earthen 
walls more easily defended against cannon fire. 
Ditches were dug around the exterior of the walls 
and various other protective devices were intro- 
duced that were intended to repel or impede the 
opposing army during its siege of the fortification. 
Changes were constantly required in all fortified 
works as the nature of attack shifted from the 
battering rams and engines to guns and mortars. 
Military handbooks that explained in detail the 
complexities of military warfare soon appeared in 
large numbers during the 1 8th century. Many of 
these handbooks were carried to America and 
immediately became the basic guide used in all 
fort construction. The classic textbook example of 
a fortification was, however, very rarely carried to 
its completion by the military engineer in America. 

Fort Stanwix never required, in its construc- 
tion, the complex geometrical designs and theorems 
or the application of mathematical equations as 
developed by Marshal de Vauban, Baron Coehom, 
and other military experts. Instead, it was the 
product of many minds and many plans, and a 
result of the labor of many men. 

Small military outposts, such as Fort Stanwix. 
depended upon ramparts as their primary means 
of protection against enemy attacks. Because the 
ramparts formed the principal line of defense, their 
composition can be broken down into individual 
component parts for study purposes. The ramparts 
for forming the four curtain walls and bastions can 
be divided into the terreplein. the banquette, the 
parapet, and the escarpe. 

A study of the Crown Maps and other his- 
torical documents reveals that the rampart walls of 
Fort Stanwix from 1758 to 1767 were constructed 
of logs in filled with earth. The thickness of thest 
walls varied from ten to twenty feet depending 
upon their degree of exposure to artillery fire. The 
thickest rampart walls were constructed along thi 
north and west side of the fort which ovcrlookei 
the land approach from the west. The thinner walls 
built along the remaining part of the fort, facet 
lower and swampy ground to the south and east 

Three nearly vertical walls formed th 
ramparts. The two outer walls, spaced ten t i 
twenty feet apart, were constructed of logs flatte I 

Historic Structure 157 

on their upper and lower surfaces and locked 
together with cross ties. This log work was built 
around the entire circuit of the fort's bastions and 
curtain walls. The interior of this log cribbing was 
filled with soil taken from the ditch and thrown 
into the structure as the wall progressed in height. 
When the final wall height was reached, the summit 
was laid with sod to prevent erosion. 

The third wall was constructed only along the 
four curtains. It was spaced another twenty feet 
away from the earth-filled cribbing and was also 
built of logs flatted on two sides. The resultant 
enclosed area formed the casemates that were in- 
tended to house 400 men. Transverse partitions 
were notched into the inner and outer walls to 
provide the necessary lateral stability needed to 
withstand the pressure exerted upon the wall by the 
weight of the terreplein roof or that of any cannon 
that might be mounted there. The roof of the 
casemates was formed of a double tier of squared 
timbers, each 12 inches thick and 20 feet to 22 feet 
long. 1 " 1 

The ramparts of 1758 were constructed en 
barbette, 104 that is, without a parapet. Additional 
work went ahead in July of 1759, resulting in a 
permanent wooden parapet with six gun embrasures 
around the northwest bastion on which the flagstaff 
was placed. In addition, the remaining ramparts 
were raised with a makeshift parapet consisting of 
weighted wooden barrels and sandbags. Wooden 
gun platforms were built in each of the four bastions 
and where the temporary parapet existed, em- 
brasures were formed by leaving an opening be- 
tween the barrels and sandbags. Apparently a fraise 
was built only around the northeast bastion, as the 
fraise detail appears in only one profile drawing. 105 

Very little information is available to date on 
the activities of the British army stationed at Fort 
Stanwix after 1759. Some construction work must 
have been carried out each summer. Sir William 
Johnson, writing in 1761, states that "The fort 
[Stanwixl . . . will require another summer to 
finish it." ''" ; Despite whatever work was done, the 
fort was in poor condition in 1764. 107 The faces 
of the southeast and southwest bastions with their 
connecting curtain wall had rotted and were falling 
down. The failure of the east rampart walls was 
probably due in part to the periodic flooding of the 
Mohawk River. In any event, if we can believe 
another plan of Fort Stanwix prepared in 1764, 

some repair work was accomplished producing 
newly made bastions and curtain walls. 108 

When the Americans occupied Fort Stanwix 
in 1776, they immediately began to repair and 
rebuild the fort using soldiers and "artificers of 
every kind. . . ." 10 ° Work was carried on with 
great diligence throughout August, until word 
arrived on the 30th that the British forces were no 
longer gathered at Oswego. After that date interest 
lagged among the garrison, leaving the burden of 
work up to the artificers. 

The garrison became involved again in repair 
work during the spring of 1777, and after the third 
New York Regiment arrived under the command 
of Col. Gansevoort and Lt. Col. Willett, this activity 
continued at a steady rate from May until August. 
After the siege, several buiidings were constructed 
for the garrison's use outside the fort area, and 
these buildings are identified on the "Gansevoort 
Map of Fort Stanwix." 

In the previous drawings mentioned, the 
foundation logs of the rampart walls were laid 
directly on the ground. Unfortunately, no outer 
foundation logs of the ramparts were uncovered 
during the archeological work. Undisturbed foun- 
dation timbers were found laid directly on the 
ground along the north and west walls of the north 

The rampart walls were built in a pyramidal 
form. The outermost walls were begun with a log 
between three to four feet in diameter, flatted on 
the upper and lowr surfaces. As each successive 
course of logs was laid up, their diameters got 
progressively smaller in size until the desired height 
of the rampart walls was reached. At Fort Stanwix 
the height of the ramparts along the curtain walls was 
determined by the height of the casemate roof 
(terreplein) plus six feet added on for the parapet. 
On the plan of 1759 the top surface of the terre- 
plein scales 8 feet 9 inches above the ground at the 
parapet; six feet more gives a total height of 14 
feet 9 inches to the crest of the parapet. Allowing 
a one foot drop for the superior slope, and exterior 
wall of the rampart should be 1 3 feet 9 inches above 
the elevation of the parade ground (451.00 feet) 
or 464.75 feet. This agrees very closely with the 
original specifications of 1758.- 00 

The rampart walls of the bastions, particularly 
of the northwest and southwest bastions, may have 
to be raised higher than the adjoining curtain walls 
due to the fact that the bombproofs were built 

158 Fort Stanwix 

above the parade ground level. In order to build 
these structures with adequate headroom (6 feet 9 
inches) and a protective shell around them, the top 
surface of the terreplein will have to be at an eleva- 
tion of 460.45 against the parapet. The crest eleva- 
tion of a parapet, that is, with six more feet added 
on, comes to 466.45 feet in these two bastions. 

GG. Ravelin 

RAVELINS [or demi-lunes], in fortification; are works 
raised on the counterscarp before the curtain of the 
place, and serve to cover the gates of a town, and 
the bridges. They consist of two faces, forming a 
salient angle, and are defended by the faces of the 
neighbouring bastions. 201 

A ravelin first appears at Fort Stanwix in 
1764, and is shown on Crown Map No. 102. It 
was constructed on the west side of the ditch 
opposite the south curtain wall and took the place 
of an earlier picketed redan built in 1758. The 
purpose of the ravelin at this point was to protect 
the main entrance gate and the newly built bridge 
to the fort. 

No sectional drawings are available showing 
the construction details of the ravelin. Instead, our 
interpretation of how the structure was built is 
derived by comparing its plan details with the plan 
and sectional details of the fort and the arche- 
ological evidence found at the site. 

The proposed reconstruction plans make one 
major change in the ravelin of 1764, and that is to 
increase the salient angle from 75° to 110° and to 
extend the length of each face from 67 feet to 77 
feet. This change was made to the 1764 plans by 
the archeologists after they uncovered a trench 
eight feet wide and approximately 50 feet long 
running in an east-west direction in the vicinity of 
the ravelin. The archeologists have used the longi- 
tudinal axis of the trench to establish the direction 
of the salient angle. They have also determined 
that the trench was located in the covered way at 
a point where the roadway passes through the 
southeast face of the ravelin. All of the British and 
American plans, without exception, are drawn with 
the roadway located within a few feet of this 

There is no positive information from the time 
of the American occupation on the condition of 
the ravelin before, during, or after the siege. 

Elmer's eyewitness account of 1776 reads in part: 
"The forth also has a sally port, covert way, bridge 
and ravelin before the main gate at the en- 
trance." - 02 On June 15, 1777, Col. Gansevoort 
wrote General Schuyler that "The engineer at this 
place has just laid the foundation of the salient 
angle before the gate. . . ." 2m Willett's Narrative 
of 1831 describes the construction of the ravelin 
in this manner: "The engineer had begun to erect 
a salient angle to the gate, with two embrasures in 
it." -" 4 The plan of Fort Stanwix that accompanies 
Willett's Narrative shows a ravelin containing three 
embrasures — identical to what is shown on the 
plan of 1764. 

The post-siege deFleury map, while too small 
to include significant details, not only shows a 
ravelin but a significant "horn work begun" around 
it. The Gansevoort Map shows only a salient 
angle where the ravelin stands. The powder horn 
engravings do not show the outer works. 

It is proposed to reconstruct the ravelin much 
as it appears on the plans of 1764, but using the 
field evidence as submitted by the archeologists to 
determine the size and direction of the salient angle. 

The walls of the ravelin should be constructed 
like the rampart walls, that is, with flatted logs 
formed in a cribbing, eleven feet wide at the base. 
The wall logs should be half lapped at the splices, 
but dovetailed joins should be used at the corners 
of the passageway and the flank or end walls. Cross 
ties should be let into the inner and outer log walls 
as the construction work progresses. These walls 
should be raised to provide enough head room for 
a rider mounted on a horse to pass through the 

A wood platform is shown on the 1764 plans, 
and it is proposed to reconstruct this feature along 
the re-entrant angle as shown in the 1764 plans, 
but with the length of the platform adjusted to the 
new dimensions established. It should be con- 
structed from one tier of twelve-inch squared 
timbers supported by beams and posts and should 
be sloped eight inches down toward the parapet. 
The parapet should be raised six feet above the 
platform and banquettes built along the base of the 
parapet. One embrasure should be built into the 
southeast face and two embrasures built into the 
southwest face. A stairway is shown on the 1764 
plans, located off the left or northwest side of the 
platform; this should be rebuilt in the proposed 

Historic Structure 159 

No mention has yet been found of how the 
space under the ravelin platform was used, but it 
might have been a storage area for wagons, gun 
carriage wheels and parts, empty barrels, etc.; a 
sentry box; or even a small guardhouse. 

The archeologists have determined that the 
elevation of the ravelin near its interior base is 
448.00 feet or 2.6 feet lower than the bridge. The 
ground would have to be sloped from the bridge 
elevation of 450.60 feet down to the ground level 
of the ravelin and covered way. Ground gutters or 
drains would be required along the base of the 
ravelin, then would be turned through the passage- 
way to empty into the ditch fronting the ravelin. 

HH. Sally Port 

SALLY-ports, in fortification, or postern-gates, as they 
are sometimes called, are those under-ground passages, 
which lead from the inner works to the outward ones; 
such as from the higher flank to the lower, or to the 
tenailles, or the communication from the middle of 
the curtain to the ravelin. When they are made for 
men to go through only, they are made with steps at 
the entrance, and going out. They are about 6 feet 
wide, and 8V^ feet high. There is also a gutter or shore 
made under the sally-ports, which are in the middle of 
the curtains, for the water which runs down the streets 
to pass into the ditch; but this can only be done when 
there are wet ditches. 20 -"' 

A sally port was included in the earliest plans 
made for Fort Stanwix. It is shown midway in the 
east curtain wall as an open passageway, five feet 
wide, running perpendicular through the casemate 
than turning and continuing through the rampart 
wall at an angle of 21 o . L ' 0G 

There is no indication on these plans of how 
the scarp wall was extended from the berm to the 
bottom of the ditch where a palisaded wall was 
located. Gate posts are shown in the palisaded wall 
opposite a covered way that led to a small stream 
where water was obtained for use within the fort. 

During the interim, probably in 1764, a 
covered passageway, 10 feet wide, was constructed 
against the east entrance of the sally port. 207 Start- 
ing at the log rampart wall, it descended the slope 
of the scarp by means of wooden steps, then ex- 
tended eastward some 65 feet. A door located in 
the east end wall was protected by a small triangular 
shaped redoubt built from palisades. Earth was 
banked up against the sides of the passageway and 

extended around the redoubt to form a protective 

On Crown Map No. 102, further details of 
the passageway can be seen in the transverse and 
longitudinal sections: the 12 inch thick beams 
forming the bombproof ceiling; the gable roof and 
12 inch thick wall construction; the banquettes and 
loopholes. A general idea of how the palisaded 
redoubt was constructed can be obtained by study- 
ing both plan and section. The drawings are done 
rather accurately at a scale of 20 feet to the inch. 

Archeological evidence of the sally port found 
in 1972 compares favorably with the engineer's 
drawing of 1764. This evidence suggested a struc- 
ture 9 feet 6 inches wide and 60 feet long, with a 
wall thickness of approximately eight inches. Two 
additional posts were added to the passageway walls 
by the archeologists as a result of their interpreta- 
tion of the underground remains. The passageway 
was built perpendicular to the rampart wall. 

Evidence remaining from the log rampart and 
casemate wall construction in this vicinity was 
virtually non-existent. A short section of the sally 
port floor and walls was found in the rampart area 
starting at the berm at the 15° angle and extending 
as far as the center casemate wall. From this point 
the sally port seemingly took another turn at a 24° 
angle and extended to the front or west wall of the 
casemate. This apparent turn of the sally port 
midway through the rampart walls is based on the 
existence of a trench, four feet deep, which ran 
parallel to the excavated sally port remains in the 
outer wall.-" 8 It is assumed that the trench and 
sally port ran somewhat parallel through the 
casemate and that a wooden box drain was laid in 
the bottom of the trench. The theory of a drain 
running under the sally port floor can be supported 
by directions given in military handbooks of the 

The width of the passageway running through 
the casemate and rampart walls was found to have 
an inside dimension of four feet. The wall con- 
struction appears to be squared logs and evidence 
of ground sleepers indicates that the passageway 
was floored with planks. 

The archeologists have determined that the 
four foot passage extended past the exterior 
rampart wall and into the covered passageway for 
a distance of 3 feet 6 inches, but no military ap- 
plication for this feature can be located. 

Only the vaguest evidence of what might be 

160 Fort Stanvvix 

parts of four steps descending the scarp was found, 
and this was used to determine where the steps 
began. Ten steps are thought to have existed and 
this agrees with the number drawn on Crown Map 
No. 102. Each step had eight inch risers and 
19 ! /2 inch treads within a height of 6.64 feet and a 
horizontal distance of 14.67 feet. 20U 

The lower two steps may have been cut away 
along the north wall to permit the sally port drain 
to enter the ditch above grade. The top of the drain 
butting the steps probably would have been covered 
with a board at this point rather than being left 
open. The drain continued along the north wall 
under the banquette for about 16 feet before 
penetrating the north wall at a slight angle as 
shown in the preliminary plans. 

The 1 764 section shows six loopholes cut 
through the side walls above the steps, so that 
obviously the steps were also utilized as firing 
platforms. These loopholes scale off the drawing 
approximately 4 inches X 16 inches on the exterior 
and 15 inches X 20 inches on the interior. The 
top surfaces were level while the interior sides 
splayed out and the bottoms splayed down. 

A cross section drawn on the above plan 
shows that 24 inches wide banquettes were built 
against both side walls of the lower passageway. 
Above the banquettes at a height of about five feet 
off the floor a 10 inch space was left running the 
length of the passageway. Soldiers thrust their 
muskets through this space whenever it was ne- 
cessary to enfilade the ditch. The drawing shows 
that the bottom of the wall opening slopes down- 
ward at the same angle as the earth embankment. 

The roof structure of the c. 1764 passageway 
seems to have been constructed of rafters spaced 
four to seven feet apart and covered with boards. 
It is possible that the final roof covering was 
cither exposed lapped boards or roof boards 
covered with shingles. Since the Americans were 
making shingles at Fort Stanwix in 1776, the latter 
theory seems more acceptable. 21 ° Protection against 
leaks of the sloping roof which extends up the 
angle of the scarp presents a problem using either 
method of roof covering. By using shingles, how- 
ever, the roof slope could be handled much like a 
valley, that is, the shingles could be swirled in the 
direction of the water runoff. 

II. Scarp and Counterscarp 

SCRAP, in fortification, is the interior talus or slope 

of the ditch next the place, at the foot of the 
rampart. 211 

COUNTERSCARP, in fortification, is properly the 
exterior talus, or slope of the ditch, on the farther side 
from the place, and facing it. Sometimes the covert- 
way and glacis are meant by this expression. 212 

The scarp and counterscarp formed the 
sloping sides of the ditch surrounding the rampart 
walls. The term scarp was also applied to the 
interior slope of the glacis. Three distinct profiles 
of the scarp were found at the north, east, and 
south curtain walls, while three scarp profiles were 
measurable on the southeast, northeast, and north- 
west bastions. The scarp and counterscarp were also 
discernible under the main bridge. Only one coun- 
terscarp angle was measurable, on the west side of 
the fort ditch. 

Small wood pickets or pegs, originally used to 
hold the cut sod in place as it was laid on the 
scarp and counterscarp, were found in the excava- 
tions on the north flank of the northwest bastion. 
They measured one inch in diameter and were 
placed about 12 inches on centers in horizontal 
rows spaced 1.0 to 1.8 feet apart. 213 Sod would 
have been used on the scarps of the glacis sur- 
rounding the ditch and sally port. 

In the fall of 1970, the archcologists laid sod 
on the flank of the northwest bastion as an experi- 
ment in durability. Now into its third winter, the 
sodded scarp seems to be holding its own. In the 
reconstruction work, it is proposed to sod the 
scarps, counterscarps and covered way, pegging 
them down in a manner similar to that of 1777. 
The angle of the scarp and counterscarp has been 
determined by the archcologists as a 40° slope. 

.1.1. Sentry Boxes 

The use of the sentry box, also called guirite 
or echauguette, in fortifications predates the four- 
teenth century and may even go back to the be- 
ginning of warfare.-' 14 In America, by the late 16th 
and early 1 7th centuries, the Spanish and French 
had already begun the construction of fortresses 
that incorporated the sentry box as a major element 
in their overall design. The English-settled town of 
Boston had authorized the "erecting of a wall or 
wharf e upon the flatts [sic] before the town . . ." as 
a defense precaution as early as 1673. These de- 

Historic Structure 161 

fenses became known as the "North and South 
Battery," and sentry boxes were built as an integral 
part of the masonry walls of these fortifications. 215 

A number of English-built forts were con- 
structed along the coast of New England in the late 
17th and early 18th centuries. 2 " 1 Of particular in- 
terest was the fort built on the Piscataqua River 
in New Hampshire. One drawing of the fort labeled 
as "The Fort upon Great Island. . . ." dated 1699, 
shows sentry boxes standing on the atips of each 
bastion. Another undated drawing, identified as a 
". . . Prospect Draft of Fort William & Mary on 
Piscataqua River. . . ." has listed in its explanation: 
"B. The new made Centry boxes." 217 There seems 
little doubt that the early military engineers in 
America had universally adopted the methods of 
fortification as perfected by their European 

There were several military handbooks in use 
at the time of the American Revolution, of which 
some were more specific than others in describing 
the use, location, and method of constructing sen- 
sentry boxes. 2,s Very little written information has 
been found about sentry boxes dating from this 
period. A number of sketches, spanning the period 
between 1673 and c. 1875, have been located that 
include the sentry box as part of the overall scene. 
One French draft, obtained from the Fortress of 
Louisbourg NHP, was especially helpful, although 
the drawing should be used with caution since its 
publishing date was 1739. 21tl 

Fort Stanwix 

Only four references have been found to 
sentry boxes at Fort Stanwix. Fortunately these 
references date between early 1777 and January 8, 
1781, and can be used as solid documentation 
supporting the conclusion that sentry boxes were 
used during the occupation of Fort Stanwix by the 
American colonists. The first known reference to 
sentry boxes is found in a letter written by the 
French engineer, Capt. B. De Lamarquise to 
General Gates, probably in April 1777. It simply 
states that he fLamarquise] "has made sentry-boxes 
where necessary to keep centinels." 22rt The second 
reference is found in the Willett Orderly Book 
which reads "The Superintendent of the Engineers 
Department will see that all the Centries Boxes are 
in good order and fix'd so as not to be blown down 
with every trifling wind." 22] The third reference is 

a drawing found on the James Wilson powder horn. 
Wilson was stationed at Fort Stanwix between 
November 1778 and November 1780; hence, it 
has been assumed that the engraving was done 
during this time. 222 The fort plan is depicted in a 
very elementary form but the artist has shown five 
sentry boxes, one placed on each of the four 
bastions and the fifth located at the ravelin end of 
the main bridge. 

The fourth reference to sentry boxes was 
found in the Orderly Books of the 4th New York 
Regiment. The entry, made on January 8, 1781, 
reads in part "A watch Coate will be furnished for 
Each Sentry Box on the Basteens [Bastions] for 
Which the Corp ' of the Guard is to be 
Accountable." 223 

Additional sentry boxes may have been 
furnished at other guard post positions. An Orderly 
Book entry written on April 11, 1781; reads: 

The Command' observes some Irregularity in the duty 
of the Guards which he wishes to correct. The 
Sentinals on their posts after Tattoo beating are to 
call all is well once in a quarter of an Hour, but not 
till ordered, which order is to be Given by the officer 
of the Guard, to the Sergeant Who is to order Number 
one at the Guard house to call all is well, which call 
is to be answered distinctley in Rotation, as they are 
Numbered except the Sentinal at the Commanding 
officers door, who is not to answer, he is in case of an 
alarme to call the Commanding officer. 224 

An entry on the following day is as explicit: 

The Sentinals without the gates are in case of an 
alarm are to shut and barr the outside gates and 
Remane their till further orders and not open the gates 
for any person Unless ordered by the Commanding 
officer the officer of the Day or officer of the Guard. 225 

The above several references are interpreted to 
mean that sentries were definitely placed at the 
guardhouse, on each of the four bastions, and just 
outside the Commandant's door. Other possible 
locations for posts would be at the sally port 
entrance and just beyond the outside gates. There 
is also a possibility that a guard room could have 
been built under the gun platform of the ravelin. 

Construction of the Sentry Box 

Only one military dictionary was found listing 
the dimensions for a sentry box: "They ought to 
be about six Foot high, and their Breadth three and 

162 Fort Stanwix 

a half." 220 These dimensions are identical with the 
French drawn sentry box. Practically all of the roof 
shapes were found to be pyramidal, that is, with 
four sloping roof surfaces terminated at the peak 
with a finial. The roof covering was probably wood 
shingles swirled at the juncture of the hip angles. 
The walls were probably sheathed with one inch 
thick vertical boards nailed into a ground sill, a 
rail at mid-point and into the plate. One side of 
the sentry box would have been used as the entry 
and was possibly hung with a door which could be 
removed during the summer months. Small open- 
ings would be cut through the three side walls to 
permit the sentry to observe his post while under 
cover in inclement weather. 

The French drawings of a sentry box show two 
methods of base frame construction. One method 
is to be used for a portable sentry box while the 
other method is to be used for a sentry box which 
might be exposed to the forces of a high wind. This 
latter method involves the addition of a perpen- 
dicular frame attached to the basic chassis and sunk 
underground. The latter type sentry box would be 
mounted on the exposed ramparts of the bastions.-- 7 

KK. Storehouse 

This building stood on the east or right-hand 
side of the main entrance gate on the parade 
ground, but no physical remains of this building 
were found during the archeological excavations. 
No reference has been found to a storehouse or 
commissary building being built at Fort Stanwix 
between July 13, 1776, and April 1777.~ s In the 
engineer's report of late April, he states that he 
". . . has made a Small Store, to put provs under 
Cover." -"- >!l By February 7, 1778, ". . . farmers 
Soldiers Officers & Others" were allowed to sell 
vegetables and other produce "brought to the 
Garrison. . . ." 230 On February 24, a garrison order 
was issued stating: 

The Officer of the Day will sec that there are no 
unnessary Lights in any of the Barracks, after Tattooc 
Beating, and the Serg. ts of the Different Squads see 
that the Men belonging to their Squads retire to their 
Births It is expected that the Sutler will Shut up his 
Shop and entertain no Company after the heating of 
the Tattooe. 231 

The above order implies that a sutler was 
permitted to occupy shop space within the fort. 

Unfortunately, there is no known record of where 
the shop was located. 

There are entries in the orderly book kept 
between 1780-81 at Fort Stanwix that imply a 
commissary was in use, but the wording is not 
explicit.- 3 - Reconstruction will have to rely pri- 
marily upon the five contemporary drawings that 
show the identify this building. The so-called 
"Gansevoort Map of Fort Stanwix" identifies three 
of the five buildings standing on the parade ground, 
one of which is marked "Commissy House." On 
another drawing of Fort Stanwix, apparently the 
original from which the Gansevoort Map was 
copied, the same building is marked Commissi 
Store." The three powder horns all show a building 
comparable to the storehouse. 

The design of the proposed storehouse is 
based on information interpreted from the drawing 
found on the McGraw powder horn of December 

( 1 ) Foundation dimensions of the main build- 
ing are 16 feet X 22 feet; two lean-tos of equal 
size are attached to the east and west ends, 
measuring 8 feet X 10 feet. (All are conjectural 

(2) It is a frame building utilizing post and 
still construction; walls are covered with horizontal 
boards; there is a gable roof with a central chimney 
on the main building; shed roofs are built over the 
lean-to additions and there is an end wall fireplace 
in the west lean-to; roofs are wood shingled; wood 
sleepers are used as underpinning. 

(3 The powder horn drawing shows three 
exterior doors and two window openings along the 
north wall, with no openings shown in the west 
end walls. The window openings in the south and 
east walls are conjectural. There should probably 
be board and batten shutters hung on the exterior 
of the windows. 

(4) Four drawings agree that there was a 
central chimney, which would indicate that the 
main building, 16 feet X 22 feet, was divided into 
two rooms (or one room) separated by a centrally 
located chimney block containing two fireplaces. 
The McGraw powder horn is the only drawing that 
allows a lean-to attached to both end walls. While 
the existence of the lean-tos cuts sharply into the 
overall size of the main storehouse, they do reflect 
the hurried building construction of the fort in 1 777. 

The interior room finish of the storehouse 
might be one that leaves the post and beam con- 

Historic Structure 163 

struction exposed, in contrast to the headquarters 
and guardhouse, which should have the walls and 
ceilings lined with boards. It is quite possible that 
the rough mill-sawn outer weatherboards, studding, 
ceiling boards (laid over the joists), and ceiling 
beams were whitewashed. Shelves should be 
furnished for the Quartermaster and possibly a 
counter of sorts. 233 The west lean-to room with the 
fireplace could have been the living quarters for 
either the Sutler or the Quartermaster Deputy, Mr. 
Hansen. The walls and ceiling of the west lean-to, 
if it had been used as quarters, would have been 
lined with boards to insulate as well as decorate 
this room. 

Most likely there would have been a door 
opening between the main storehouse and each of 
the lean-tos. All rooms would have wood floors. 
The Quartermaster would have taken advantage of 
the storage space found in the attic; hence, a trap 
door and a wall ladder would have been required 
to gain access to this area. 

LL. Timber 

The chief tree species found in the Fort 
Stanwix area in 1758 were white pine, white cedar, 
elm, beech, maple, birch and poplar. 234 In 1793, 
other species of trees listed were sugar trees, button- 
wood, white walnut, pitch pine, elm, oak, shellbark 
hickory, and hemlock. 235 

Of the 42 wood samples submitted by the 
archeologists to the State University of New York 
for identification, 24 samples were white pine, 1 1 
samples hemlock, four samples white cedar, one 
sample white ash, and one sample slippery elm. 
Except for the predominant use of hemlock in the 
northwest bombproof (nine samples) there was an 
indiscriminate use of tree species in construction. 

In 1777 the engineer, de Lamarquise, pro- 
posed to raise the parapet with cedar which was 
found about one mile from the fort. 23 ' 5 On the 
deFIeury map there is an area about one mile to 
the southwest of Fort Stanwix marked "Cedar 

It is proposed to build the outer rampart walls 
with logs. Starting with a 30-36 inch diameter 
foundation log, each tier of logs would be reduced 
in diameter until the height of the parapet is 
reached, at which point a 12-14 inch diameter log 
should be used. The inner rampart walls forming 
the walls to the casemates should start out with a 

24 inch diameter foundation log, and end with a 
15-17 inch diameter log at the top of the wall. 

Smaller trees will be needed to construct the 
fraise, pickets, bombproofs, passageways, bake- 
house, etc., but a variety of local species can be 
used as long as pressure treating is specified after 
cutting and fitting. 

For the heavy squared timbers used on the 
roofs of the casemates, etc., it will probably be 
necessary to use West Coast Douglas Fir. 

Douglas Fir (or white pine if available in wide 
widths), can be used for the exterior boards of the 
barracks, headquarters, guardhouse, and store- 
house. From 1776-1781, the roofs of these build- 
ings were probably covered with shingles rived 
from white cedar or white pine, then tapered and 
smoothed. We can substitute sawn white cedar 
shingles for the handmade variety since the saw 
marks will weather out in a few years. 

Southern yellow pine may be substituted for 
the local white pine. Hemlock still grows in some 
of the remoter areas of up-state New York and 
should be acceptable for wall logs. It will have to 
be cut in the spring of the year if the bark is to be 

MM. Wells 

Water for the use of the garrison at Fort 
Stanwix was obtained from a branch of "Teochnohat 
Creek" which ran along the east side of the fort. 237 
Members of the garrison had to carry water from 
the creek, which was protected by a short covered 
way and an earthern redan, through the sally port 
into the fort. This method of furnishing fresh water 
for the fort's consumption was kept in use after 
the Americans arrived in 1776. 

The military engineer realized that a good 
supply of water was of paramount importance dur- 
ing a time of siege. This fact must have been 
realized by the Americans shortly before August 
1777. ColbratfVs Diary records the chain of events 
that took place on August 1 1 : 

This Day the Enemy having Observed that we brought 
water from the Creek altered its Course so that it 
becme dry This wou'd have done us much Damage 
had we not been able to open two wells in the Garri- 
son which with One we had already proved a Sufficient 

The same day Colonel Gansevoort issued a 
garrison order stating: ". . . The Quarter Master 

164 Fort Stanwix 

will Likewise Order as many Barrels filled with 
Water, as he can procure and see that they are 
Constantly full." 238 Not only were the barrels of 
water used for cooking, drinking and washing pur- 
poses, but they were also useful in case of fire. 

No evidence of wells was uncovered in the 
archeological excavation work of 1970-72. The 
only plan of Fort Stanwix showing a well appears 
on an original banknote issued by the Bank of 
Rome in 1832. The plan shows a blockhouse, a 
magazine, and a well located near the center of the 
north casemate. 239 

When grading work begins on the parade 
ground, an attempt should be made to locate the 
well(s), if indeed they were dug in this area. 

The aboveground well structure will have to 
be conjectural since neither a description nor a 
drawing exists from the military period. 

four persons could be tied or manacled to the ring 
at one time. 

The location of the whipping post is unde- 
termined, but it would probably have been some- 
where near the center of the parade ground, as the 
punishment was to be executed in full view of the 

Reconstructed forts such as George, William 
Henry, and others have included a stock in addition 
to the whipping post as part of their exhibit. 
Evidence that a stock was used at Fort Stanwix was 
not found. Unless reliable documentation is found 
for this feature, it has been recommended that the 
stock should not be included. 

Another form of punishment used at Fort 
Stanwix in 1781 was chaining a block two feet long 
and six inches in diameter to the leg of a 
prisoner. 241 

NN. Whipping Post 

Flogging, as a form of corporeal punishment, 
continued in use throughout the Revolutionary 
War. At Fort Stanwix, the three most commonly 
mentioned forms of punishment were flogging, 
confinement in either the guardhouse or bombproof, 
and running the gantlet. 

Flogging was executed at a whipping post. 
The first mention of a whipping post at Fort 
Stanwix is in 1776, when four men were tied 
together and whipped. 2,n Throughout the Willett 
Orderly Book kept from May 30, 1777, through 
May 19, 1778, and the 4th and 2nd New York 
Regiment's Orderly Books kept from November 
22, 1780, through June 10, 1781, whipping is 
mentioned continually. During the twenty day 
siege of Fort Stanwix, however, whipping is not 

The writer has not found an early description 
of a whipping post, but reproductions at Fort 
George, Ontario, and at Fort William Henry and 
New Windsor Cantonment in New York State. Of 
the three, the post at New Windsor seems to be 
the most convincing. It is a peeled wooden post 
approximately nine inches in diameter and IV2 
feet high terminated at the top with a round finial. 
Four iron rings. 2Vi" in diameter, are stapled at 
equal distances around the post near the top and 
four more rings are stapled into the post about 12 
inches off the ground. Thus the hands and feet o\~ 





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H E 
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V E L I N 
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The Fort Stanwix Historical Center — 
A Preliminary Report 

A preliminary report was prepared by Mr. 
Charles M. Stotz. Architect from Pittsburg, Penn- 
sylvania, on November 18, 1963, outlining in detail 
a proposal for the partial reconstruction of Fort 
Stanwix. The report's recommendations were either 
adopted or were so necessary to reconstruction of 
the fort that the Park Service's master plan 
addressed the same points made by Mr. Stotz. 
A copy of the following report was given to the 
writer by Mr. Stotz in August 1971 . 

Primary Purpose 

To make the Rome region a better place in 
which to live by fostering in the residents the desire 
for a full and true knowledge of and pride in their 
cultural heritage so that both they and visitors to 
the region may better understand the planting and 
development of civilization in the region. 

To accomplish this, it is intended to memori- 
alize and to instill an understanding of the events, 
personalities, military installations and other his- 
torical aspects of the French and Indian, and 
Revolutionary Wars that transpired in the region 
of modern Rome, New York, with emphasis on 
the principal fortified stronghold, Fort Stanwix. 

Secondary Purposes 

To also present later phases of military activity 
in the War of 1812, to memorialize the life of 
Francis Bellamy and his Pledce of Alleeiance to 

the Flag, to develop a knowledge of all phases of 
the social and economic life of the region from its 
geological origin and prehistoric residents to its 
leading role in road, canal and steam transporta- 
tion of the early 19th century, by comprehensive 
modern museum techniques. This calls for emphasis 
on interpretation and a major effort in exhibit 


The site is bounded by Black River Boulevard, 
an un-named alley east of North James, East 
Liberty, and East Dominick Streets. Under the 
basic proposal all of this land is to be utilized 
except the business properties fronting on North 
James Street. It is further proposed that a portion 
of the parcel lying between East Dominick Street, 
Erie Boulevard and North James Street be con- 
sidered. See site diagram herewith. 

Site Preparation 

The basic site would be cleared of all buildings 
except the Rome Club. North Spring Street, East 
Willett Street and the un-named alley would be 
abandoned and the land absorbed in the plot. 

The Rome Club is a good example of a 
Corinthian Order of the Greek Revival period and 
this building, with some restoration, could serve a 
useful purpose in the project plans. 

The existing museum building is of com- 
bustible construction and is unsuitable to modern 
museum use as well as unattractive in design. The 


cost of rehabilitation would not be justified. We 
recommend that it be razed. 

There are in this site several buildings of some 
historic and architectural character, the preserva- 
tion of which might be desirable. However, from 
our experience in this field we believe that their 
rehabilitation and maintenance would present a 
major charge on the community in cost and man- 
agement and would constitute a serious distraction 
from the essential purposes of the project. The 
only exception is the facade of the American 
Legion Building, an excellent example of an Ionic 
Order of the Greek Revival period. It is a pos- 
sibility this portico, that is, the columns and the 
pediment over them, with some restoration might 
be preserved as a museum exhibit. 

The Empire House is said to have been built 
in the early thirties but its exterior character shows 
considerable alterations of a later period and is 
not judged to be worthy of preservation from an 
historical-architectural point of view. 

It is suggested that the museum contain an 
area devoted to the early architecture of Rome in 
which would be displayed pictures and drawings of 
buildings in their original unspoiled condition 
together with exhibits of details or portions that 
have been preserved. 


While we do not yet have a topographical 
survey of the site, there appears to be little varia- 
tion in grade and we visualize no hazards in layout 
from this source. 

Full-Size Reconstruction of Fort Stanwix 

The principal source of information on the 
original condition of Fort Stanwix is the military 
engineer's drawing made in 1758, and now pre- 
served in the Crown Collection of American Maps 
in the British Museum. It was a simple square with 
bastions at the corners. The walls were of horizontal 
logs. There is adequate information to accomplish 
a reasonable faithful reproduction. 

The 18th century frontier forts were made of 
the materials most readily available, earth and wood. 
They deteriorated readily under the effects of rain, 
frost and rot, as we have learned in the reconstruc- 
tion of the contemporary Fort Ligonier 50 miles 
east of Pittsburgh. It is therefore recommended that 
reconstruction be restricted to the southeast quar- 
er of the fort. This includes the flag bastion with 
its cannons and the powder magazine beneath it, 
half of the east and south curtain walls, each 
backed by a barracks building and several buildings 
within the parade ground. The life of the wood 
may be lengthened by certain precautions in treat- 
ing the wood with preservatives. The moat with its 
picket line is to be built around the restored portion 
of the fort. Thus all of the essential and typical 
features of the fort may be examined by the 
visitor. The trace of the remaining portion of the 
fort will be shown by a narrow stone path on the 
ground, except of course where concealed by the 

As will be described later a small scale model 
of the entire fort is to be built in a location that 
will afford a view both of the model and the full 
size portion. While the bastion will be visible from 
the surrounding streets, visitors will be admitted to 
the fort area only from the museum building, after 
viewing the model. 


The several physical elements of the program, 
as shown on the site diagram and to be discussed in 
detail later, are as follows: 

1. Full size reconstruction of the southeast 
quarter of Fort Stanwix. 

2. Restoration of the Rome Club. 

3. Construction of a new museum building. 

4. Provision for on-site parking of 75 to 100 

5. Landscape development of the entire area. 

Restoration of the Rome Club 

The Rome Club will form a distinguished 
background for the exhibit of typical furnishings of 
the early homes of Rome. Additional uses for this 
building have been recommended but this aspect of 
the program remains to be defined. It must be 
recognized that the fire and panic laws of most 
states, including New York, restrict the use of 
residences as places of public assembly. Any use 


168 Fort Stanwix 

of the second floor by the public requires drastic 
alterations to provide fireproof stairways at ex- 
treme ends of the building, although it is likely that 
quarters for a resident caretaker would be per- 
mitted on the second floor without such construc- 
tion. The degree of restoration needed to return 
the building to its original condition must await 
further study and research. Access to the building 
will be provided from the adjacent museum, as all 
persons must enter and exit through the main lobby 
for reasons of security. 

New Museum Building 

The existing museum building was originally 
constructed as a tennis court, later altered by the 
introduction of a second floor of wood construc- 
tion, and finally adapted to use as a museum, 
utilizing the first floor only. In a project of such 
importance and permanence as we are now con- 
sidering it would seem shortsighted to reuse or 
extend this building which is inadequate in size, 
combustible in character and undesirably located. 

A new building is proposed in the general 
area shown on the site diagram. It would be a 
one-story building of fireproof construction, with 
a flexible plan that will permit readjustment and 
extension of museum exhibits as required. As in 
modern museums of this type, lighting will be 
artificial and subject to control to suit the exhibit 
needs. However, windows will light the offices, 
lobby and certain staff areas while a large open 
landscaped central court will provide a welcome 
foil to the interior areas. This court would provide 
a dramatic setting for the principal theme, our 
flag, with a memorial to Francis Bellamy or other 
feature as determined by the committee. It is 
important to maintain simplicity and unity to 
achieve an effective memorial. 

The entrance to and exit from the buliding is 
by a spacious lobby on the western front, accessible 
by a new street. The lobby will be served by public 
rest rooms. A gift sales area opens ofl" the lobby. 
This facility provides important funds for the 
maintenance of the project as has been amply 
demonstrated in many similar institutions throughout 
the country. 

This lobby also provides direct access to one 
of the principal features of the museum, an Infor- 
mation Center, or Theater of History, to sett 300 

persons, provided with a large stage or exhibition 
area. Special techniques are contemplated by which 
all phases of history represented in the museum 
may be presented here in synoptic form and with 
telling dramatic effect by an interesting new 
method conceived by your curator, Gilbert Hagerty. 
As at Williamsburg, Virginia, this Information 
Center will prepare the visitor for a full apprecia- 
tion of what he will later see. The use of this center 
for groups of school children will provide a vital 
regional educational feature as well as a visitor 
attraction of great value. 

The important adjuncts of storage and prepa- 
ration workshops will be provided with a separately 
controlled delivery entrance off East Liberty Street. 
As one reaches the southeast corner of the 
museum he enters an elevated room looking down 
through a large window directly on the restored 
portion of the fort. This room will contain a model 
about 20 feet in diameter of the entire fort and its 
immediate environs at the scale of % inch to a 
foot. Here the significance and character of the 
restored fort will be fully explained so that when 
the visitors walk out of the model room they are 
prepared for the visit to the restoration. 

Similar models might be considered for the 
historic portage area from the Mohawk River to 
Lake Oneida. Also a model of the Mohawk- 
Oswego military route would explain why Fort 
Stanwix was a fortified place of strategic importance. 

In addition to the exhibits pertaining to the 
French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars and the 
War of 1812, there is a significant story to be told 
of water transportation from the early bateaux to 
the canal days. A model of the early Erie Canal, 
including the Black River branch, may do much 
to help the modern visitor visualize structure, as 
well as the social and economic impact of this 
vanished system. 

It is desirable to establish a building that may 
he operated with a minimum staff and suited to 
year-round operation. 

On-Site Parking 

It is presumed that the Urban Renewal 
Agency will require adequate parking to serve the 
museum. We recommend a parking compound of 
75 to 100 cars on the western extremity of the 
property as shown on the site diagram. 

Historic Structure 169 

Landscape Development 

The borders of the project area are to be 
planted in a park-like manner and the entire lot 
surrounded by an attractive fence or barrier that 
will prevent access but yet afford an uninterrupted 
view from the bordering street. 

It is suggested that appropriate outdoor ex- 
hibits be distributed through the area surrounding 
the museum, including a garrison garden and such 
fort adjuncts as a forge, outdoor bake oven, 
saw-pit, and the like. 

It may be desired to consider a light and 
sound program now so popular at historic sites 
throughout Europe, and presently being considered 
for Point State Park in Pittsburgh. If so, provisions 
must be made for a proper installation. 

We recommend that an intensive archaelogi- 
cal program be conducted before construction of 
the new building. It is likely that valuable artifacts, 
essential for the new museum exhibits, may be 
recovered from the ground, as at Fort Ligonier and 
other fort sites. 


It is not possible to make a reliable estimate 
of cost until the completion of preliminary studies, 
showing the plans, elevations and sections of the 
buildings, layout of the grounds and outline specifi- 
cations. When this is known, revisions may be 
made to accommodate a practical budget. We sug- 
gest now that an outside figure of one and one-half 
million dollars be considered for the construction 
cost of the above described project including archi- 
tect's fees but exclusive of land acquisition and 
exhibits. It is impossible at this stage to estimate 
the cost of the exhibits themselves which, except 
for the fort model and possibly the museum cases, 
lie outside the architect's responsibility. We suggest 
tentatively that the sum of $250,000 be allo- 
cated for exhibits. Thus the total cost would be 
approximately $1,750,000. 

If land acquisition is not disproportionally 
high in cost, we suggest inclusion in the project of 
the strip of business properties fronting North 
James Street. 

Land Between Dominick Street and 
Erie Boulevard 

It is suggested that consideration be given to 
the acquisition of the area east of Montgomery 
Ward, leaving in place the more valuable buildings 
on the western portion. The eastern section would 
be graded and made into a landscaped public 
parking area which would provide an open, dignified 
foreground to the project. We assume that the cost 
of this would not be borne by the Fort Stanwix 
Historical Center project. 

Architectural Services 

This report is provided without obligation to 
the committee and as an assistance in resolving 
the main features of the project. Our firm now 
proposes that we be engaged to perform the neces- 
sary architectural services and submit a schedule 
of fees for such work. We base these fees as per- 
centages of contract cost according to the schedule 
adopted by the Pennsylvania Society of Architects 
of The American Institute of Architects. 

For the museum building, the fee would be 
IVa percent of the contract cost, while the remain- 
der of the work, including the restoration of the 
Rome Club, reconstruction of Fort Stanwix, and 
site development would be at 10 percent of the 
contract cost. 

The standard form of agreement as issued by 
The American Institute of Architects is submitted 
herewith for your inspection. You are encouraged 
to raise any questions concerning the details 
therein. This project will be handled in the name 
of Charles M. Stotz on behalf of the firm of Stotz, 
Hess and MacLachlan. 

Upon execution of an agreement the architects 
will proceed with preliminary studies, which, as 
mentioned above, will provide a clear statement of 
the project by plans, sections, outline specifications, 
perspective views and detailed cost estimates. Upon 
review of these studies and after making any altera- 
tions or budget adjustments after consultation with 
the client, the final working drawings and specifica- 
tions may be prepared. 

Throughout this process, the architect will 
consult with the client through a building com- 
mittee to establish a well-defined program, accept- 
able to the Urban Renewal Agency. The architect 

170 Fort Stanwix 

will likewise consult the local and state building 
codes and secure all preliminary approvals that 
may be required. 

To expedite the work and simplify communica- 
tion, we suggest the work building committee be 
restricted to three persons. Of course all decisions, 
as represented by the architect's drawings and data, 
will be presented for ratification by the committee 
as a whole. 

We believe the project has a sound and 
justifiable basis for becoming a civic asset of great 
worth. Our impression is that the citizens who 
conceived this worthy enterprise have developed 
an enthusiastic backing among the people of Rome. 
We trust that the momentum thus produced will 
carry us to an early and successful accomplishment 
of the project. In sharing your enthusiasm, we will 
bend every effort to this end. 

Respectfully submitted, 
Charles M. Stotz/lw 

Charles M. Stotz 

November 18, 1963 


Class C — Cost Estimates 

Reconstruction of Fort Stanwix, Rome, New York 

Based on Preliminary Drawings NPS No. 015/25000, 4 Sheets 

March 22, 1973 

Site Preparation 

Excavation Work 

Area east of the fort: 

200' X 700' X 2.5' ave. depth 
Excavate Parade Ground to original 
240' X 240' X 2.0' ave. depth 
Cellars in east barracks, two each, 

hand excavation: 
Area south of the fort: 

160' X 50' X 1.0' ave. depth 
Deepen & widen ditch on south & west 
sides of fort: 
(400' X 2.0') + 400' X 17' X 10' 
Excavate area between east scarp and 
Liberty Street: 
400' X 40' X 5.0' 
Excavate remaining ditch area: 

600' X 10' X 35' 
Excavate stream bed east of the fort: 

800' X 2.0' X 1-0' 
Install catch basin at outlet & 

connect to storm sewer: 
Excavate trench for pickets & backfill: 
Removal of eleven house foundations 

on site: 
Removal of existing pipe lines, disconnect 

& cap off: 
Removal of asphalt curbs & walks left 

on fort site: 
Removal of existing trees and tree stumps: 

1 3,000 cu. yds. 



4,266 cu. yds. 



300 cu. yds. 



' 2,800 cu. yds. 



3,000 cu. yds. 



8,000 cu. yds. 



60 cu. yds. 



1 ,020 cu. yds. 








172 Fort Stanwix 

Earth Fill 

Level parade ground and cellar holes on 

fort site: 
Southeast Bastion, fill and compact earth: 
Ramp, Ravelin to main bridge: 
Glacis, 1665 lin. ft. 
Redoubt, fill & compaction: 
Sally port, glacis of passageway: 
Bastions, less parapets, bombproofs 

and passageways: 
Fill above curtain walls in parapet: 
Fill in parapet of ravelin: 
Earth banquettes in bastions: 
Earth banquettes in redoubt: 
Fill south of ravelin: 

3,750 cu. yds. 



178 cu. yds. 



25 cu. yds. 



13,067 cu. yds. 



330 cu. yds. 



167 cu. yds. 



7,906 cu. yds. 



400 cu. yds. 



71 cu. yds. 



123 cu. yds. 



10 cu. yds. 



500 cu. yds. 




ST $161,820.00 

Top Soil 

Area east of the fort: (a) 0.2' deep 

Glacis: 1665 lin. ft. @ 0.2' deep 

Covered Way: 1275 lin. ft. @ .2' 

Counterscarp, scarp: 

Ditch: 1475 lin. ft. @ 0.2' deep 

Redoubt, glacis & parapet: @ .2' 

Sally port, glacis: 

Redoubt, banquette: 32 lin. ft. 

East scarp of fort: 560 lin. ft. X 10' 

Berm: 1170' X 7' X 0.2' deep 

Bastions, banquettes & terrepleins: 

1,040 cu. yds. 



808 cu. yds. 



83 cu. yds. 



234 cu. yds. 



220 cu. yds. 



28 cu. yds. 



15 cu. yds. 



1 cu. yds. 



36 cu. yds. 



80 cu. yds. 



82 cu. yds. 




ST $178,635.00 

Sod Work 

Parapet of Glacis: 1522' X 8' 

Covered Way: 1275' X 10' 

Covered way-Ravelin: 80' X 6' 

Counterscarp-scarp: 2,515' X 15' 

Parapet of redoubt: 

Banquette of redoubt: 

East scarp of fort: 560' X 10' 

Berm: 1,550' X 6.5' 

Bastions, terrcplein, ramps, banquettes: 

Parapet of ramparts: 1.535' X 12' 

Parapet of ravelin: 110' X 8' 

1,353 sq. yds. $4.00 $5,412.00 

1,417 sq. yds 

54 sq. yds. 
4,192 sq. yds. 

28 sq. yds. 

1 1 sq. yds. 

622 sq. yds. 

1.070 sq. yds. 

1,376 sq. yds. 

2,046 sq. yds. 

98 sq. yds. 

4.00 5,668.00 

4.00 216.00 

4.00 16.768.00 

4.00 112.00 

4.00 44.00 

4.00 2.488.00 

4.00 4.280.00 

4.00 5.504.00 

4.00 8,184.00 

4.00 392.00 

ST $227,703.00 

Historic Structure 173 

Slope Work 

Trim scarp, counterscarp, parapets: 

5,000 lin. ft. $1.00 $ 5,000.00 
ST $232,703.00 


3 acres 

$800.00 $2,400.00 


.65 acres 

800.00 540.00 

Glacis of redoubt & passageway: 

650 sq. yds. 

800.00 20.00 

Area east of the fort: 

3.2 acres 

800.00 2,560.00 


ST $238,223.00 

Construction Work 

Concrete Work 

Excavation work: 

Footings, foundation walls & piers: 
Retaining walls within ramparts: 
Retaining walls, roof & floor slabs 

around bombproofs and passage- 
ways, ends of casemates: 
Floor slabs where needed in remaining 

Precast "pan" construction under sod & 
soil of ramparts: 

Note: Estimate prepared by Rome, N.Y. firm 

ST $438,223.00 

Building Construction 

West Barracks: 20' X 120' 2,400 sq 

East Barracks: 20' X 120' 2,400 sq 

Headquarters: 20' X 54' 1 ,080 sq 

Ell addition: 15' X 10' 150 sq 

Guard House: 16' X 19.5' 312sq 

Ell addition: 12' X 8' 96 sq 

Storehouse: 16' X 21.5' 344 sq 

Ell addition: 10' X 8' X 2 ea. 160 sq 

N. Casemate: 22' X 148' trapezoidal 2,860 sq 

East Casemate: 22' X 145' trapezoidal 2,904 sq 

South Casemate: 22' X 137' trapezoidal 2,794 sq 

West Casemate: 22' X 144' trapezoidal 2,794 sq 

NW Bombproof: 14.5' X 21' 305 sq 

Passageway: 6' X 55' 330 sq 
















1 74 Fort Stanwix 

NE Bombproof: 1 6' X 16' 

Passageway: 6.5' X 25' 
SW Bombproof: 19.5' X 20' 

Passageway: 6.5' X 40' 
Bakehs. & oven: 19' X 21' + 80 

Passageway: 6' X 30' 
Necessary: 12' X 22' 
Bridge to Necessary. 7' X 58' 
Main bridge: 10.5' X 62.5' 

Drawspan: 10.5' X 12' lifts/chain 
Main Gate & Entrance: 13.5' X 18' 
Sally Port: 9.5' X 62' 
Sentry Boxes: 3.5' X 3.5' X 7 ea. 
Gun Platforms: 1 1.5' X 18' X 25 ea. 
Whipping Post w/final 9" w/staples: 
Wood Barrels, watertight: 
Flag Pole, double mast: 14" X 40' 
Wells w/wood curb: 
Banquettes, wooden, pressure treated: 

Curtain Walls: 516' X 3' 

Ravelin Walls: 80' X 3' 

Flashing under: 600' X 3.5' 
Fraise: 6" dia. 12" o.c. 1,800 poles, 

Pickets, main palisade w/ribband and 
pointed ends, pressure treated: 
1,822 poles 
Pickets in redoubt w/ribband: 

70 poles, pointed 
Outer picket gate, double: 10' X 10' 
Sally Port picket gate, single: 3' X 7' 
Ravelin gate, double, solid: 10' X 10' 
Log retaining wall at redoubt 24 lin. ft. 

pressure treated: 
Log retaining wall at entrance 80 lin. ft. 

pressure treated: 
Pickets for ends of earth banquettes: 

1800 @ 3" X 2.5' @ 0.50<* 
Steps to sentry boxes: 4 sets 
Ravelin, Log work in walls, pressure 

treated: 55,030 b.m. X $800.00 

M -f- labor costs 
Ravelin, platform & frame: 
Ramparts, Log work, pressure treated 
after fitting: 

Exterior walls below embrasures: 
371,960 b.m. (<> $800.00 

M + labor costs 595,136.00 

Parapets, embrasures, cross ties: 
204.750 b.m. @ 800.00 

M + labor costs 491.400.00 

256 sq. ft. 



163 sq.ft. 



390 sq. ft. 



260 sq. ft. 



480 sq. ft. 



1 80 sq. ft 



264 sq. ft. 



406 sq. ft. 



657 sq. ft. 



126 sq.ft. 



243 sq. ft. 



590 sq. ft. 



80 sq. ft. 



5.175 sq.ft. 



20 ea. 



1 ea. 


3 ea. 


1 ,548 sq. ft. 



240 sq. ft. 



2,100 sq.ft. 

1 .50 


25.00 ea. 


30.00 ea. 


30.00 ea 









450 sq. ft 




Historic Structure 175 


Telephone: 4" plastic, 720' @ $6.00 

-f one pullbox 
Water supply: 4" D.I.P., 400' @ 

$8.00 + controls 
Storm sewer: 15" R.C.P., 440' @ 

$14.00 + drop inlet 
Sanitary sewer: 8" A.C.P., 400' @ $1 1.50 
Primary electrical service: 3 phase, 

120/208 v 400 amp. 

6" A.P.C., 465' + one pullbox @ $18.00 
Secondary electrical service: 

8" A.C.P., 280 lin. ft. + one 
pullbox @ $20.00 
Electrical distribution, fixtures, outlets: 
Fire extinguishers: 10 @ $30.00 

Estimate by DSC $ 57,000.00 

Heating: electrical; provisions for future A.C. 

For future A.C, 4" gas line, DIP. 680'— DSC 100,000.00 

Plumbing: —DSC 90,000.00 

Fire Detection System in separate conduit: 
Intrusion Alarm System: 5,000.00 


ST 3,749,094.00 
Inflation factor: @ 5.5% per year for 3 years 618,600.00 

ST 4,367,694.00 
Contingencies: @ 5.0% 218,385.00 

ST 4,386,079.00 
Contractor's Overhead & Profit: @ 16% 733,772.00 

ST 5,319,851.00 
Balance brought forward: $5,319,851.00 

N.P.S. Personnel on project: 3 yrs. 

@ $20,000.00 60,000.00 

Transportation for NPS personnel for 3 years: 4,500.00 

Office expenses for NPS personnel, heat, 

electricity, photos: 7,000.00 

Architect's fee for consultation and 

inspection: 8,000.00 


Grand Total: $5,399,351.00 

Note: Working drawings, specifications writing and contract documents included in 
F.Y. 1974 program and is not included in the above estimate. 

Submitted by O. W. Carroll 
March 22, 1973 


Addendum — 

Lumber Procurement and Preservation 

The use of large logs, 12 inches to 30 inches 
in diameter, and large squared timbers as proposed 
in the reconstruction of Fort Stanwix, poses some 
logistical problems in the procurement and preser- 
vation treatment of these items. 

The writer has personally contacted several 
owners and managers of lumber mills in central 
New York as well as two wood preservation plants. 
Most mill owners agree that procurement will re- 
quire at least one year's time. The wood preserva- 
tion plant managers say that a minimum of one 
year should be allotted for air drying of the timber 
prior to pressure treatment. The logs should be 
peeled before pressure treatment begins. 

Pressure treatment of the logs, large timbers, 
pickets, f raise, etc., should be done after cutting 
and fitting of the joints are completed. This would 
require dismantling, hauling, presure treating and 
re-erection, which could be accomplished if a 
portion of the fort were constructed a section at a 
time. Such a time table might also fit into the 
schedule necessary for procurement of the logs 
and the air drying time needed. 

As an aid in preparing the working drawings, 
the hiring of a local carpenter to fashion full-scale 
dovetail joints would be in order. These large scale 
models would then serve as a guide for the con- 
tractors bidding the job. 

It appears at this time that timber of the size 
required is only available on the West Coast. The 
nearest pressure treating plant of any size is in 
Ohio. Resawing of the timbers will need to be done 
with a band saw. Some salvage of the slabbed 
boards from the flatted logs can be realized. 

owe 3-23-1973 

Ik, p 

Historic Structure 177 



f '' FLAN of Tort STAAfWrSE 


> J r r 


'•^^TtfT"" J' 

"-m m 

"PLAN of Fort STANWISE" possibly drawn by James Montresor, engineer, in 1 758. If this drawing is 
the Montresor plan, it is our first scaled and dimensioned document of Fort Stanwix, The lengths of the 
Hanks and faces as well as the overall distance between the salient angles of the bastion tips, as shown on 
this plan, compare very favorably with the proposed reconstruction dimensions. Reproduced from the 

178 Fort Stanwix 

fc /U » <' 

Historic Structure 179 





Duilt at (Tir OnutcT*. 
,5t<vtion i7^d-w- 

1 . SoIJitri b Arrjtko . 
| Olwrr. H ••■!•• 
(V Pewd»r M «£**•■*«. 
-a 3t OK • t» o»t 1« 

5 c a 1 r io«» fwli« 

— i| puff fa— ■— 

-PLAN OF FORT STANWIX, Built at the Onnida [sic] Station 1758." This plan was probably drawn in 1759 or 1760 since it shows the two 
additional buildings on the parade ground constructed "from July to December 1759/' Note the storehouse to the northwest, outs,de the 
fort. Reproduced from the Collections of the Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. 

TROOPs in 1758" signed by Jn. Williams, 
Sub. Engineer. This plan probably represents 
Fort Stanwix as it looked after the initial 
round of construction by the colonial troops 
supervised by regular British and Provincial 
Army officers. Construction details for the 
ramparts and casemate walls as well as for 
the footbridge and necessary structure were 
taken from this plan. Reproduced from the 
Collections of the Manuscript Division, 
Library of Congress. 

180 Fort Stanwix 

• 4.- <*»»•, k^. X, t*. ./t^u. 
JUS *t &~l> «^— — *» — ~J •/*»«■/ 

*r4&t A+* /am %■* fk*jk, 

tfu. frit e 

t&* J*** tltJt ja~^ r«M<4 « <V^ *-« «* ^v- 

Ay*.:j * e. 



••»«^, *-.>~ y«,x — — 


AfpL \i> rx i \ 

"Man of FtWT STANtfDC -howiny «.; 

( |on» ** th.At Po*t iron Ju 1 v to IV r^i < 

tMftvUM, Crown roll»nion OCXI, 1.1. 
COf.y in ^h|> Division, lilT.rv ot COngr*»«, 

/ t 

Historic Structure 181 

"Plan of FORT STANWIX showing what 
Works were done at that Post — from July to 
December 1759." The original plans at the 
British Museum, were colored to show the 
extent of new work as listed in the 
explanation at the lower left of the drawing. 
The National Park Service should obtain 
color reproductions of these original 
drawings to complete this part of the fort 
story. This is one of two plans that show the 
location of the fraise; see "Profill thro A B." 
It also shows the earliest type of construction 
of the parapet in "Profill throu EF." 
Reproduced from the Collections of the 
Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. 

"Plan of FORT STANWIX, Showing what is to be done tocompleat it." Dated (in another script) 1764. Unsigned. A black and white copy of 
another original colored plan kept in the British Museum. Compare this plan with the previous ones to see the changes that were made to the 
buildings on the parade ground. A new covered communication (caponiere) was added to the east end of the sally port and a newly built ravelin 
constructed opposite the main gates and bridge. This plan furnished the primary construction details above ground level for the sally port and 
redoubt beyond. (See sections A B and C D.) Reproduced from the Collections of the Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. 



iS 'lowing -»-|iui i- ImMlu'il mil 
■ • i* to be done lo eoiiwleat it , 

cjr(Cf» t<\ 

H lit. «/«•« /'/,«/! 

I". Hi »,».* 

182 Fort Stanwix 

. rfRrf AM&nmm wcMiH* ^-uilduiai k im/mrrO Jdtmim 11* 176+ 

"A Sketch of Fort Stanwix, with its 
Buildings & outworks November 19th 
1764" signed by Geo. Dernier. This and 
the previous plan are the only two 
drawings found to date that indicate the 
work done by the British at For Stanwix 
"between the 1st of July 1764, and 31st of 
December followg." This plan was used to 
locate the placement of the picket line 
along the east berm of the fort. Also, the 
method of closing off the northeast and 
southeast ends of the ditch as shown on this 
plan was adapted in the proposed 
preliminary plans. Reproduced from the 
Collections of the Manuscript Division, 
Library of Congress. 

lor^ Dchuyler: 
Dec! 25: 7777 

J* 1 i-ILjraw 

Historic Structure 183 


With An Early American Flag 


The James Wilson powder horn of Fort Schuyler. James Wilson was a private in the 1st Company of the 1st New York 
Regiment commanded by Col. Goose Van Schaick. The 1st New York Regiment replaced the 4th New York Regi- 
ment at Fort Stanwix near the end of 1778. The regiment stayed at the fort until November of 1780; thus, the Wilson 
powder horn has a probable date of 1779 or 1780. The Wilson powder horn is unique in that it shows the location of 
five sentry boxes, four of them found on the bastions. The structure shown on the southeast bastion is surely the 
shed that "the Carpenters are to pull down . . .Built Over the bomb proof." (Garrison order, Dec. 20, 1780.) 

"Fort Schuyler: Deer 25: 1777, J: Mc Graw." A two dimensional 
drawing of the original McGraw powder horn now owned by 
Chester Williams of Rome, New York. Drawing by John 
McManagle of Rome, New York, in 1963. James (Alexander) 
McGraw enlisted in the American army during July of 1775. He 
participated in the invasion of Canada in 1776 where he was shot 
through the leg. On June 13, 1777. McGraw reenlisted in Capt. 
Bleecker's Company of the 3rd New York Regiment, which arrived 
at Fort Stanwix on May 26, 1777. Although we are not positive that 
James McGraw was here at the fort during the siege, it seems very 
likely that he was. Our first account of McGraw actually being at 
the fort is found in a hospital return dated March 1, 1778, which 
lists (James) McGraw, Capt. Bleecker's Company, as having been 
confined to his quarters with an "Ulcerous leg." This was surely 
the old leg wound of 1776 acting up again. During McGraw's 
period of convalescence, he would have had time to carve the fort 
plan on his powder horn. McGraw was discharged on May 30, 
1778, "as unfit for duty from his wound and old age." Source: 
Original sketch at Fort Stanwix Museum, Rome, New York. 

184 Fort Stanwix 

UmiW'UP li 

— . 




"Gansevoort Map of Fort Stanwix." New York Public Library. 

1 1 : - 

KtiJ" 7 

Plan of Fori Stanwix dated 1802. The 
original drawing of this plan has not heen 
located to date Presumably it was drawn on 
the spot by the Rev. John Taylor, but not 
published until 1850 Re\ Taylor writes in 
his journal on the 18th: "The old Fori 
Stanwix stands about 30 rods from ye river. 
It is regularly built: the intrenchment is \ei\ 
deep. In the centre ol the fori stands the old 
block house. This can hctict be described by 
my drawing." Another e\eu itness report ol 
1815 placing the blockhouse of 1794 in the 
center of the old Fort is solid evidence that 
this was the location of its construction 
Source: Documentary History of New York. 
Vol. III. 1850. p. 1137. (Jervis I ihrary. 
Rome. N.Y.) 

Historic Structure 185 





■ a a 



r, > fesg -, 

• »■--•■>■ L a — :.'«!■ I I I I [ I •] . ' 


AN0 NAViGAi on: Cp's canal 

Li 12 

Plan ol Fori Stanwix, dated 1810. The original drawing of this plan has not been loeated as yet. It first appeared in a local newspaper, the Rome 
Citizen in 1871. Later, in 1878. it was published in book form. The description, in part, of Fort Stanwix reads as follows: "Fort Stanwix 
originally extended through from Dominick Street to what is now Liberty Street, and the block-house was in the centre (about where Dr. 
Kingley's barn is)." The plan shows that the leveling of the Fort proper started in the southeast bastion where Mr. Dominick Lynch built a 
house between 1802 and 1810. Source: History oj Onieda County, New York, by Samuel W. Durant, 1878, p. 382. (Jervis Library. Rome, 

t'l ■ i il i il I i I .i - - |-i 



Plan of Fort Stanwix as engraved upon an 
original Bank of Rome note in 1832. An 
octagonal blockhouse, a well and magazine 
are shown on the plan. The fort and the 
blockhouse were probably gone prior to 
1832; thus, the engraving probably 
represents the fort as someone remembered 
it. Source: From the Rome Directory of 
1857, p. 131. (Jervis Library, Rome, N.Y.) 

[ in only engr 
of the write 

A Dunk of 
a ''n culut ion 

.f this fortification that ha* met, tin. 
a -mall bird's-eye view, upon the 
notes, mnv principally withdrawn 

186 Fort Stanwix 

Drawing of Fort Stanwix. dated 1793, attributed to Peter Hugunine. Actually misdated, as the blockhouse was not constructed until 1794. This 
sketch represents the artist's concleption of Fort Stanwix in 1793. We have very little information on the blockhouse of 1794. In 1815, William 
Dunlap made a drawing of the remains of Fort Stanwix, showing'the blockhouse that occupied the "centre of the fortification.'" An 
unsuccessful attempt was made to locate the drawing, which may have perished in the Dominick Lynch house fire ofc. 1824. Source: From a 
4" x 7" negative owned by Chester Williams, Rome, New York. 


*m c 

For) Stanwix as it appeared August 6, 1777, as interpreted by the artist, Peter Hugunine. in 1897. The original oil painting has not been 
located. Source: From an engraving owned b\ the Fort Stanwix Museum. Rome. New York. 

Historic Structure 187 

-*-• ~ r ***^-.« jw 

•v<«».V"»* i^y^f^ dJZZi.* Jfi>m.t^~£i j£ 


: v. 

md^UZHH ii-^-l — ^ -~.A<i dfc -^ ^* * JjitS' Xt *t+. .' -i lr+.V f'-f Cr 

"The Fort upon Great Island in Piscataqua River, 1699, New Hampshire." This 
particular sketch has been included to show the location of the Sentry boxes on the tips 
of the bastions. A sketch of Fort George, in the New York Harbor, by Archibald 
Robertson, dated 1776, also shows a sentry box placed on the tip of each bastion. This 
location agrees with the military handbooks of the day. Crown Map Collection, Mss. 
Room, New York State Library, Albany, New York. 

"Sunrise at Fort Stanwix August 3, 1777." 
An oil painting by Edward F. Buyck in 1927. 
Funds to pay Mr. Buyck for this painting 
were raised by the citizens of Rome. The 
theme of the painting is the raising of the 
"Stars and Stripes" above Fort Stanwix 
during the siege of August 2-22. Both 
Hugunine and Buyck elected to show the 
rampart walls as constructed from earth 
covered with sod. Source: Copied from an 
8" x 10" B &. W photograph owned by 
Chester Williams, Rome, New York. 

188 Fort Stanwix 

Historic Structure 189 




Reconstructed drawbridge and outer 
gates at Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada. 
This is a recent reconstruction, 
probably within the last ten years. A 
similar drawbridge design was used 
at the Upper Canada Village near 
Cornwall, Canada. From a 35 mm. 
slide taken by O. W. Carroll, 1971. 

Gueritte dc Charpentc aux pcrtes ,; 

dts edifices miiicaircs < -S ~ \ J ~xV 


Plan of Fort Edward, New York, c. 1757. The 
profile drawing through T-U, showing the exterior 
construction of the rampart wall and an embrasure, 
is the method of construction proposed for Fort 
Stanwix. Note the dovetail joints at the corner of the 
embrasure and rampart end wall. Along the superior 
slope can be seen the tie beams, dovetailed into the 
inner and outer log walls. Library of Congress, No. 
45215, January 1973. 

A drawing of a French designed sentry box, dated 
1739. We are indebted to Mr. John Fortier, Head 
Research Historian at Fortress of Louisbourg NHP. 
Canada, for providing us with a copy of this sketch. 
Since De LaMarquisie was the French engineer in 
charge of building the sentry boxes at Fort Stanwix 
in 1777, the writer assumes that he would use a 
drawing having a French origin. The sentry boxes 
proposed for use at Fort Stanwix follow this design. 
Source: Fortress of Louisbourg, Canada. From Lu 
science ties ingenieurs duns la continue ties travaux 
de fortification et d' architecture civile . . . 

sfutre Gueritte qu'cttfiiic sus- 
Lrs ramparts ijuiscntretenus^. 
en terre par un chassis qui 
/ait au'elle resiste a-lapcusse'c 
du- vent- 

Echelle pour les figures decette planclie 


190 Fort Stanwix 

Historic Structure 191 

192 Fort Stanwix 


(0«t SIANWH 17J6 1781 

'iiiiiiint pi i a i 

Historic Structure 193 


" :• 

■ :: --- 

194 Fort Stanwix 


Historic Structure Report 

1. Copy letters of correspondence between Generals 
Abercromby and Stanwix received from Richard Mattice. 
Pennellville, N.Y., November 1971. From the Bureau of 
Archives, Ottawa, Canada, hereinafter called Canadian 
Archives. Reference to order is found in letter dated 
July 27, 1758. 

2. Ibid. Letters dated July 20, 23, 24, 27. Corres- 
pondence, Stanwix with Abercromby, in which the three 
engineers are mentioned as being at the Carrying Place 
in July 1758. 

3. Ibid. Letter dated August 20, 1758, Stanwix to 

4. "Orderly Book of Captain Horatio Gates at Oneida 
Station," 1758. Typescript copy furnished by W. E. 
Scripture of Westmoreland, New York. Entry dated 
September 6, 1758. 

5. Canadian Archives, letter dated August 30, 1758. 
Abercromby to Stanwix. "Yesterday Evening I receiv'd 
from Lieut. Col. Montresor; Engineer Williams's Opinion 
in regard to the Impracticability of finishing this Season 
the intended Fort at the Oneida Carrying place, and 
accompanying the same with the plan of another he and 
Capt. Green had pitched upon. . . " Lt. Williams' signature 
is affixed to Crown Map No. 99, dated 1758. 

6. Ensign Moses Dorr Diary: ". . . about four 
o clock the first Stock of timber was Layd of the fort." 
Copy obtained from the Rome Sentinel. 

7. Canadian Archives, letter dated October 22, 1758. 
Stanwix to Abercromby. Meanwhile. Thomas Sowers had 
returned from the Col. Bradstreet expedition on Sep- 
tember 8 and stayed on to help with the supervisory work 
at Fort Stanwix. His signature (and Lt. Williams') is 
affixed to the ordnance demand dated September 14, 

8. John Luzader, The Construction and Military 
History of Fort Stanwix (N.P.S., 1969). See plan follow- 
ing page 41 for dimensions of the original fort. Herein- 
after cited as Luzader. 

9. See notes on Crown Map No. 101 for work 
completed in 1759. 

10. The Papers of Sir William Johnson. The University 
of the State of New York (Albany, 1962), Vol. XIII. 
p. 273. 

11. Canadian Archives. From Col. Harry Gordon's 
itemized list of expenses. 

12. Journals of Col. James Montresor and Capt. John 
1779, N.Y. Historical Society CoUectionsMontresor 1757- 
for 1881, p. 70. 

13. See Illustrations Nos. 5 and 6 in the Appendices. 
Crown Maps No. 102 and 103. 

14. Letter dated April 23. 1775. Robert Duncan to 
William Livingston. Taken from the Rome Sentinel. 
March 3. 1969. Copied from Fort Stanwix Museum files 
by Lee Hanson. 

15. "Journal Kept During An Expedition to Canada 
in 1776." by Ebenezer Elmer, Lieutenant in (he Third 
Regiment of New Jersey Troops in the Continental 
Service. Commanded by Colonel Flias Dayton. Printed 
from the original manuscript in the Proceedings of the 
New Jersey Historical Society. 1847^(8, Vols. II & III. 
and 1927, p. 134. Hereinafter called the Elmer Journal. 

16. Elmer Journal, p. 32: "In the evening Capt. 
Potter with his officers moved into the room contiguous 
to ours, and between which there is no partition. . . ." 

17. Jonathan Lawrence Diary, New York State 
Library, Mss. Room. 

18. Letter from Lt. Col. Cornelius Van Dyck to Col. 
Van Schaick dated April 17, 1780. From Fort Stanwix 
Museum letter files. 

19. Public Papers of George Clinton, published by 
the State of New York (Albany, 1900), Vol. VI. pp. 
876-880. Hereinafter called the Clinton Papers. 

20. From the Rome Sentinel, November, 1970. Taken 
from The Writings of George Washington, Vol. 22 (GPO, 
April 1932). Letter written to Gov. George Clinton. 

21. Orderly Books of the Fourth and Second New 
York Regiments, 1778-1783, The University of the State 
of New York (Albany, 1932), pp. >750-752. Hereinafter 
called the Orderly Books of the 4th N.Y. Reg't. 

22. From The Writings of George Washington, Vol. 
27. Letter to Col. Willett, dated August 4, 1783. 

23. Willett Levies, kept in New York State Library. 
Three letters pertaining to the building of the blockhouses 
received from Wayne Lenig, St. Johnsville, N.Y., 1971. 
On file at Fort Stanwix NM. 

24. Diary of Griffith Evans. October, 1784. From the 
Fort Stanwix Museum File No. 3124. 

. . . Fort Stanwix (also dictum Schuyler) is Situate 
or rather has been on the South side of the Mohawk 
River, there being now remaining no more than 3 
small Blockhouses Vi Mile below the Ancient works, 
and some Cabins nearthereto. the Fort being aban- 
doned by Gen. Gansevoort in being first burnt and 
demolished by Accident. . . . 

25. "Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1784," The Olden 
Time (Pittsburgh, 1848). p. 409. Letter from Oliver 
Wolcott. Richard Butler, and Arthur Lee to Lieut. John 
Mercer of the Jersey Troops. 

26. Assembly Papers. Vol. 45. pp. 71-73, New York 
State Library. Dept. of Mss. and History. A copy of this 
letter received from Wayne Lenig. October, 1971. 

27. We have two maps drawn of Rome, New York, 
one dated 1802 (Journal of Rev. John Taylor's Missionary 
Tour Through the Mohawk and Black River Countries in 
1802. published in Documentary History of New York, 
Vol. III. 1850. p. 72) and one dated J810 (History of 
Oneida County. New York, by Durant. 1875. p. 382). 
Both maps show a blockhouse in the center of the parade 
ground of Fort Stanwix. The blockhouse is also shown on 
an original Bank of Rome note printed in 1832. as 
published in the 1857 Rome Directory, p. 130. See 
Illustrations Nos. 10. 11 & 12, included in the Appendices 
of this report. 

28. William Dunlap. History of the New Netherlands 
Province of New York, and State of New York. Vol. II. 
p. 112. 

29. File Mss. 1 DAR.2-C.W. Darling. COR. 1-13. 
( orrespondence with D. E. Wagers dated Jan. 23. 1891. 
Oneida County Historical Society. Utica. N.Y. Copy of 
correspondence in FOST files. 

30. Documents Relating to the Colonial History of 
the State of New York. State Archives (Albany, 1887). 

Historic Structure 195 

Vol. I, p. 208. McGraw was in the Eighth Company. 

31. Capt. Bleeker's Company was stationed at Fort 
Constitution under Col. Willett before marching to Fort 
Stanwix, where they arrived on May 26, 1777 (Willett 
Orderly Book). The exact day the 3rd N.Y. Regiment 
left Fort Stanwix is not known but the 1st New York 
Regiment arrived around January 1, 1779. 

32. Copied from the files of Fort Stanwix Museum, 
folder marked Muster Rolls. 

33. Description found in FOST files; source unknown. 

34. Information, in part, obtained by Lee Hanson 
from the Fort Stanwix Museum files. Additional details 
taken from the Rome Sentinel, June 8, 1965. 

35. See Illustration No. 15 in the Appendices of this 

36. Excavated by J. Duncan Campbell for Rome 
Urban Renewal Agency in 1965. The bakehouse area was 
reopened by the National Park Service in 1971. 

37. Hanson and Hsu, "The Bakehouse at Fort 
Stanwix." (N.P.S., April 1972). Typescript copy in rough 
draft form circulated in-Service during April of 1972. 

38. Orderly Books of the 4th N.Y. Reg't., p. 577. 

39. Fort Herkimer, N.Y.; Fort Ticonderoga, N.Y.; 
Fort Chartres, 111.; Fort Conde, Ala.; Fort Du Quesne, 

40. Orderly Books of the 4th N.Y. Reg't.. p. 555. 
December 30, 1780: "The Morning Gun is to be fired in 
the Southeast Bastion to Morrow Morning. . . ." We also 
have the deFleury map and two powder horn plans drawn 
not long after the siege that place cannons and/or 
embrasures in the southeast bastion. 

41. Ibid., Hanson and Hsu. 

42. The height of the chimney cap above the terre- 
plein follows those shown in the casemate drawings of 
1758-59. The writer has found an existing chimney cap 
that is identical in construction at Fort Putnam, West 
Point, N.Y. 

43. Capt. George Smith, An Universal Military 
Dictionary (London, 1779), p. 99. Hereinafter cited as 
Capt. Smith. 

44. Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. IX. 1893, p. 428. 

45. Crown Map No. 102. 

46. Crown Map No. 102. See section C-D for detail 
of wooden banquettes. 

47. Crown Map No. 100 shows a barracks-like build- 
ing scaling 20 feet X 118 feet located about 300 feet 
west of the fort. The structure is identified as a "Store- 

48. See Crown Maps Nos. 102 and 103. 

49. "Journal from New York to Canada, 1767," 
published in the New York State Historical Association 
Quarterly, Vol. XXX. 1932, p. 188: 

Tuesday May 19th. 1767. Continued our course to 

Fort Stanwix. ... It is a regular square fortification, 

with a Fossee [sic] covered way. Glacis, and Ravellin 

sic, and calculated for a Garrison of 1000 or 1500 

men. The works being of wood are now falling to 


Extract of a letter from Major Gen. Gage to the 

Earl of Shelburne dated New York, May 27. 1767. 

Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State 

of New York, Vol. VII, p. 985: 

The Fort is in a ruinous situation and I dont judge 
it of consequence enough at present to deserve the 
repairs it would require to make it defencible. It is 
proposed as soon as the military stores can be re- 
moved, to withdraw the Garrison, and to grant the 
Place with the ground dependant on the Fort, to an 
old half pay officer on condition that he shall take 

care of the Buildings for the Kings use and return 
every thing again to the Crown when required for 
the use of the Kings Service, and that on considera- 
tion of a small Salary he shall likewise take charge 
of all the Stores destined for the Lakes, and to see 
them forwarded over the Portage for Fort Ontario. 

50. Extract of a letter from Richard Duncan to 
William Livingston as printed in the Rome Sentinel, Rome, 
N.Y.. March 3, 1969: 

1 hope to be able to go and reside there (Ft. Stanwix) 
myself — the people who live on the ground are one 
John Roof, Thomas Mayers, William Cloyne, Bar- 
tholemew Brodhock — John Steers and Stephenus 
Delyrod a Frenchman — who trades there for Major 
Fonda — the Fort is all in ruins, and the barracks by 
an accident last fall was burnt to the ground, nothing 
now remains— but a Room which the officers used 
to mess in now — occupied by the Frenchman above 
ment. — there is Fifty Acres of land enclosed about 
the Fort, it is — chiefly meadow, and Five little huts 
of houses with a couple of barns. . . . 

51. Elmer Journal, p. 134. 

52. Ibid., p. 32. 

53. Ibid. 

54. Ibid., p. 411. 

55. Peter Force. American Archives, Vol. I, 5th 
Series, 1776 (Washington, D.C.. 1848). p. 1119. Extract 
of a letter dated Elizabeth-Town, August 23, 1776. 

56. For a complete list of the Connecticut soldiers 
stationed at Fort Stanwix under Colonel Elmore, see 
Muster Roll from Connecticut Men in the Revolution, 
compiled by the Adjutant-general's office. (Hartford, 


57. Luzader, p. 62. 

58. John Scott, Fort Stanwix and Oriskany (Rome. 
NY.. 1927). p. 100. Hereinafter cited as Scott. 

59. Luzader, p. 66. 

60. Luzader, p. 68. 

61. Gansevoort map of Fort Stanwix; plan from 
Willett's Narrative (1831); deFleury map (post-siege); 
and three powder horn maps: McGraw, DeWitt. and 

62. Scott, p. 113. Letter from Gansevoort to Schuyler 
written June 15, 1777: 

The Engineer at this place has just laid the founda- 
tion of a salient angle before the gate and the 
carpenters are employed in framing a Barracks to be 
raised just before the glacis opposite the south 
Bastion the Barracks at present being bad. . . . 

63. Scott, p. 113: "I have been obliged to send for 
boards as far as Foxes at Canajoharry." 

"Collonel Willet's Orderly Book February 18th 
1777 — " Original manuscript kept in the New York 
Historical Society. Microfilm borrowed and tran- 
scribed by W. E. Scripture. Westmoreland, N.Y., 
March. 1972. Typed in final form by Roselyn Infusino. 
Copied for FOST files. Hereinafter called Willett 
Orderly Book. 
Willett Orderly Book. May 30, 1777: "1 Sub. 1 

Sergt and 15 privates are to hold themselves in Readyness 

to Embark tomorrow at ten o Clock, in Six Batteoux to 

fetch boards for Use of this Garrison." 

Willett Orderly Book. June 16, 1777: "The Batteaus 

that arrived here this day with Boards are to be ready to 

set out again, with the other four Batteaus that are at 

this place. . . ." 

The writer assumes that the casemates of 1777 were 

constructed in the same manner as the original fort work 

of 1758. 

196 Fort Stanwix 

64. American Archives-, 4th Series, Vol. 3. Copy of 
B. Romans' Estimate and Expense of erecting forts in the 
Highlands, September 18, 1775. 

65. Minnies- of the Albany Committee of Corres- 
pondence 1775-1778, Vol. 1, compiled by James Sullivan 
(Albany, 1923) p. 560. 

66. Archeologists' report in draft form at Fort 

67. Elmer Journal, p. 411, October 10, 1776: -The 
fatigued men are employed in getting and hauling 
shingles. . . ." 

68. Scott, p. 239. Willett's Narrative speaks of 
shutting the windows of the dining room. 

69. The room arrangement for the east and west 
barracks was suggested by Lee Hanson. 

70. Willett Orderly Book. 

71. I he post-siege deFlcury map lists a "labaratory" 
as being located in the west barracks. This military 
function not included as part of the proposed barracks 
layout. The southwest casemate with its packed soil floor 
best suits the purpose of a laboratory space. 

72. Other contemporary forts having officers and 
soldiers housed in the same barracks building are: Forts 
Erie, Niagara, Johnston, Mount Pleasant, Half Moon. 
Lawrence, and Saco. 

73. William Willett, A Narrative of the Military 
Actions of Colonel Marinus Willett, reprinted by Arno 
Press (New York. 1969), p. 49. Hereinafter called 
Willett's Narrative. 

74. Letter, Wilkinson to General Gates, February 3, 

75. Moses Dorr Diary. Entries for October 7, 20, 
22, 1758. 

76. Willett Orderly Book. 

77. Ibid. 

78. Orderly Books of the 4th N.Y. Reg't., p. 544. 

79. Ibid., p. 555. 

80. Willett Orderly Book. 

81. Capt. Smith, p. 29. 

82. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. IX, 1893, p. 428. 

83. See Crown Maps Nos. 102 and 103, dated 1764. 
During the repair and remodeling work of 1764, a berm 
was constructed across the open ditch opposite the south- 
east bastion and the pickets extended from the covered 
way across the berm and along the east side of the fort. 

84. Willett's Narrative, p. 49. 

85. Willett Orderly Book. April 16, 1778. 

86. See Crown Map No. XXX. 1756, noting "D". The 
brick kiln is located on the south side of "Little Creek" 
not far from the Mohawk River. The clay used in making 
the bricks probably came from a river deposit nearby. 

87. Information on (he bricks was furnished by Lee 
Hanson. January 4. 1973. 

88. John Mullcr. A Treatise of Fortification (London. 
1746). p. 214. reprinted by Museum Restoration Service 
(Ottawa. Canada. 1968). 

89. Observation by the writer based on the study of 
plans from other colonial forts in the northeastern part of 
the United States. 

90. Luzader. p. 20. 

91. Ibid., p. 21. 

92. Ibid., p. 41. 

93. Ibid., p. 43. 

94. Ibid., p. 50. 

95. Gates Papers, taken from microfilm reel No. 4. 
Letter from Gansevoort to Gates. Papers of General 
Horatio Gates located in the New York Historical Society. 
Microfilm copies borrowed by W. E. Scripture through the 
Kims library Transcribed in part by Mr. Scripture and 

NPS personnel working at Fort Stanwix NM. Final typing 
done by Roselyn Infusino. 

96. Ibid., taken from microfilm reel No. 4. Letter 
from James Wilkinson to Gates. 

97. Forts Ontario, N.Y.; Mount Pleasant, Md.; Fort 
George, N.Y.C. 

98. John Barr's Diary, p. 843, Orderly Books of the 
4th N.Y. Reg't. 

99. Capt. Smith, p. 71. 

100. Capt. Smith, p. 35. 

101. Sidney Toy. A Historv of Fortification from 
3000 BC to AD 1700 (London. 1955) p. 200. 

102. Ibid., pp. 200-201. Pulleys and chains; platform 
pivot with pit, the overhead counterpoise; port cullises; 
counterweights and pulleys. 

103. Drawbridges found in New York State: Forts 
Frederick (2). Crown Point (4), Ticonderoga (2), 
Ontario (2), Herkimer. Edward, Niagara, and William 
Henry. Also at Forts Du Quesne and Pitt (4). Pennsyl- 
vania; Forts Erie, Louisbourg (2), Lawrence and Windsor 
in Canada. 

104. Willett's Narrative, p. 43. 

105. Hinge (V5 pr) found near the main entrance 
way to the fort; currently kept at FOST. See archeologists' 

106. Ordnance demand by order of Brig. General 
Stanwix, dated September 18. 1758. Original kept in Mss. 
Room, New York State Library, Albany. 

107. Luzader, pp. 68-69. 

108. Willett's Narrative, p. 49. 

109. See Crown Map No. 101 included in the Ap- 
pendices of this report. 

110. There are several powder horns depicting Fort 
Stanwix or Schuyler. The Fort Stanwix Museum has 
collected a number of drawings and photographs of 
powder horns showing Fort Stanwix, yet we know of 
additional horns listed in Stephen V. Grancsay's book. 
American Engraved Powder Horns (New York. 1945). 
that have not been located for study purposes. The five 
powder horns we now have sketches of which show the 
flagstaff are those identified with Jeams Thomson. Oct. 8. 
1777; J. McGraw, Dec. 25. 1777; Capt. T. DeWitt, 1778; 
lames Wilson, n.d., c. 1780; and Cornelius Chatfield. 
Nov. 5. 1780. 

111. A short list of sketches illustrating the double 
masted flagstaff is as follow.?: Fort William and Mary. 
N.H.. 1699 (Crown Collection map); fort at Crown 
Point. N.Y.. 1759; Fort Stanwix. 1777. 1778. 1780: Fort 
Mackinac, 1820; Fort Howard, c. 1840; and Fort McHenry. 
Md.. c. 1862. In addition, we have an eyewitness account 
of the flagstaff at Fort Pitt in 1759, as follows: ". . . on 
ye South East Bastion stands a High Poal like a Mast 
& top Mast to Hoist ye flag which is Hoisted on the first 
Day of ye Week from about Eleven to One o'clock & on 
State Days &c." (From the Kenny Journal as found in 
Drums in the Forest by Charles Stotz. p. 160.) 

1 12. For a complete description and set of construc- 
tion drawings of a ship's mast, see Steel's Elements of 
Mastmaking, Sailmaking & Rigging (London. 1794). 
Plates III and IV. 

I 13. Ibid., Plates III & IV. 

114. Gay Dc Vernon. On the Science of War and 
Fortifications, translated bv John Michael O'Connor (New 
York, 1817). p. 290. 

115. Elmer Journal, p. 134: "Fort Stanwix [in 
1776] ... is large and well situated, having a glacis, 
breastwork, ditch and a picquel fort before (he walls, 
which are also well guarded with sharp sticks of timber 
shooting over the walls. . . ." 

Historic Structure 197 

St. Leger, the British commander, described the fort 
in 1777, as follows: "Its form is a kind of Trapezium or 
four sided figure with four Bastions freized and picketted, 
without them as a good ditch with pickets nipping out a 
considerable way at the salient angles of Bastions. . . ." 
Luzader, p. 81. 

116. Capt. Smith, p. 112. 

117. Humphrey Blank, A Treatise of Military Dis- 
cipline (London, 1759) pp. 201, 203: 

Half an hour before the gates are to be shut, which 
is generally at the setting of the sun, a Serjeant and 
four men must be sent from each port to the main- 
guard for the keys; at which time, the drummers of 
the port-guards are to go upon the ramparts, and beat 
a Retreat, to give notice to those without, that the 
gates are going to be shut, that they may come in be- 
fore they are. As soon as the Drummers have 
finished the Retreat, which they should not do in less 
than a quarter of an hour, the Officers must order the 
barriers and gates to be shut, leaving only the 
wickets open; after which, no Soldier should be 
suffered to go out of the town, though port-liberty 
should be allowed them in the day-time. 

He must order a Corporal and four men more with 
arms to escort the keys to the outermost barrier, and 
to place two men with rested arms, on every draw- 
bridge, till they return from locking the barriers. He 
must send likewise a sufficient number of men with- 
out arms to assist in the locking of the gates and 
drawing up the bridges. 

118. The names "Swing Gate," "back gate," "great 
gate," and "folding gate," have been used to describe 
gates constructed at various New York forts during 
this period. 

119. Elmer Journal, August 16. 1776, p. 179: 
"Almost finished the fort, but could not enclose it for 
want of some pickets and the gate, carpenters making the 
gate and about repairing the barn." 

120. Elmer Journal, August 27, 1776, p. 188: "The 
Fort Schuyler or Stanwix is exceedingly well situated. . . . 
the gates are strong, without any ravelling to the 
front. . . ." 

121. Orderly Books of the 4th N.Y. Reg't., p. 575: 
"The Sentinals without the gates are in case of an alarm 
are to shut and barr the outside gates and Remane their 
till further orders and not open the gates for any 
person. . . ." 

122. Ibid., p. 541. 

123. Charles Lamb. An Universal Military Dictionary 
in English and French, etc. 4th Ed. (London, 1816) 
p. 994: 

WICKET, a small door in the gate of a fortified 
place, through which people go in and out, without 
opening the great gate: likewise a small door within 
a gate, or a hole in the door; through which what 
passes without may be seen. 

124. The Revolutionary Journal of Col. Jeduthan 
Baldwin, 1775-1778, edited by Thomas W. Baldwin 
(Bangor, Me., 1906). p. 27. February 27. 1777: "went to 
mount Independance the forenoon, ordered the wicket 
gates to be hung and the Gates Barred." 

An elevation of the "New Fort" to be built at 
Schohary, N.Y.. (mid-18th century?) shews a wicket 
gate built within the main gate (Crown Map No. CXXI. 
photocopy of the original kept in Crown Collection. New 
York State Library). 

125. Orderly Books of the 4th New York Reg't., 
p. 543. 

126. American Archives, 5th Series, Vol. I, p. 1119. 
Extract of a letter dated Elizabeth-town, August 23, 1776: 
"A wide ditch is sunk round it (Fort Stanwix), about ten 
feet deep, the glaces on the outside are raised six feet 
above the surface. . . ." 

127. As determined by archeology. 

128. As scaled and projected off Crown Map No. 
102. Section A-B. 

129. Elmer Journal, p. 33. Dr. Elmer was stationed 
at Fort Stanwix with Colonel Dayton's Regiment. 

130. Scott, p. 100. Letter from Capt. De Lamarquise 
to General Gates, no date, but probably written in late 
April of 1777. 

131. Willett Orderly Book: 

June 5, 1777: ". . . John Baker to be releas'd from 
the Guard House. . . ." 

June 9, 1777: "And Richard Watson Ordered to be 
Releas'd from the Guard House. . . ." 

June 12, 1777: ". . . James Rogers and Cornelius 
Swartwout Ordered to be Releas'd from the Guard 
House — as also James McCormick. . . ." 

March 5, 1778: "Serg:* Myers of Capt Tiebouts 
company confin'd by Lieut: Bowen for defrauding the 
Publick was Order'd back to the-Guard House untill the 
Arrival of Lieut Stockwell — a principal Evidence. The 
Commanding Officer approves of the Suspending the 
Tryal, but Orders the prisoners Releas'd from his Con- 
finement in the mean Time. . . ." 

132. Orderly Books of the 4th N.Y. Reg't., p. 548: 
December 3, 1780: "Charles Kinney to [be] Dis- 
missed from Confinement, and John Holms and Eph m 
White to be shut in the Bomb proof for the space of six 

133. Letter from Corn's v. Dyck to Col 1 Van Schaick, 
April 17th 1780. (We owe thanks to the Fort Stanwix files 
for this letter.) 

Dr Sir 

1 am sorry I must inform you of an unluck circum- 
stance which happened to use on the night between 
the 13th & 14th Ins T . & between the Hours of twelve 
& one, some fire had unhappily lodged itself between 
the Chimney and the Chamber floor of the Guard 
House which caught so violently & it being on the 
Chamber so that the Gaurd did not perceive it until 
it had got so far that it was impossible to extinguish 
it, but but consumed with the Snowshoes, and all the 
Arms unfit for use belonging to the Garrison; we 
were necessiated (in order to save the rest of the 
Garrison from being consumed) to also haull down 
part of the rist of the Barracks, immediately in the 
morning I had all the Carpenters collected & em- 
ployed who have now nearly again repaired the 
Barracks that were knock'd down and hope if nothing 
extraordinary falls in our way to have the Gaurd 
House also rebuilt by next Saturday — This accident 
might have destroyed the whole Garrison had it not 
been for the Dexterity of the Officers & Soldiers who 
by taking down part of the Barracks, & the constant 
applying of Water (to that part which was on fire) 
which was conveyed thro the Sally Port prevented the 
fire from catching in any of the other Buildings, not 
a man was hurt saving a few who lamed themselves 
by treading Nails in their feet — 
I remain 

134. Orderly Books of the 4th N.Y. Regiment, op. 
cit.. p. 544: ". . . The officer of the Main Guard, is not to 
Suffer any Damage to be Done to the Flours sic of the 
Guard Hous sic. . . ." 

198 Fort Stanwix 

135. The six contemporary drawings showing the 
headquarters building are as follows: McGraw powder 
horn, 1777; DeWitt powder horn, 1778; Cornelius 
Chat field powder horn, 1780; DeFleury map. n.d., but 
post-siege; Gansevoort map, n.d., but post-siege; map 
accompanying Willett's Narrative of 1831. One written 
reference can be found in John Scott's book entitled Fort 
Stanwix and Oriskany, p. 95, as follows: "The adjutant 
was ordered to make three copies and 'fix one at Head 
Quarters, one at the fort gate and the other at Mr. 
Roof's.' " The second written reference is the word 
"HeadQ rs " labeled beside the north fort building drawn on 
the "Gansevoort Map of Fort Stanwix." See Appendices 
for this map plan. 

136. Scott, p. 239: 

. . . Permission having been granted, they were con- 
ducted blindfolded into the fort, and received by 
Colonel Gansevoort in his dining room. The windows 
of the room were shut and candles lighted; the table 
also was spread, covered with crackers, cheese and 

137. Capt. Smith, p. 131. 

138. Moses Dorr Diary. August 25. 1758: "I Ges 
came of Dutey and ordered to oversea the Building of a 
Hopatal for the Sick. . . ." 

139. Elmer Journal, October 5, 1776, p. 32. 

140. Willett Orderly Book. June 2, 1777. 

141. "A Diary of the Siege of Fort Schuyler." written 
by William Colbraith, edited by Max. W. Reid, The 
Magazine of History, Vol. III. January-June, 1906 
(William Abbatt, New York), p. 32. Hereinafter called 
Colbrath Diary. 

142. New-York Historical Society Collections (New 
York, 1915), Vol. 48. pp. 430-431. 

143. Clinton Papers, Vol. IX, p. 120. 

144. Orderly Books of the 4th N.Y. Reg't.. p. 574. 

145. The Gentleman's Compleat Military Dictionary 
(Boston, 1759). 

146. Capt. Smith, p. 175. 

147. Humphrey Bland, p. 225. 

148. Orderly Books of the 4th N.Y. Reg't., p. 541: 
"for the future Provision for the Garrison, Staff officers, 
and the Dependants for Publick supplies, are to Draw 
always on one Day as no Provision Return will be allowed 
on other Days." 

149. Documents Relating to the State of New York 
in the Revolution, p. 81. The Committee of War. acting 
upon orders from the Provincial Congress, issued the 
following instructions to the Barrack Master in March 
of 1776: 

That the Field Officers of each Corps in this Colony 
be supplied with one Room: the Captains with the 
Subalterns of each Company together with the 
Quarter Master and Adjutant to be entitled to a 
Room between each two. 

The Officers' Rooms of the said Corps to be 
furnished each with 1 p r . Tongs. 1 Table, two Chairs 
and one Candlestick. 

For every Room for Non Commissioned Officers 
and Soldiers of the said Corps, each room to contain 
20 men. 10 Cribs. 10 Bedcases and 10 Boulsters to 
be filled with straw every three months. 2 Iron Potts. 
2 Trammells. 1 p r . Tongs. 1 Wood Axe. 1 Iron 
Candlestick. 1 Table, 2 Benches and 1 Bucket. — and 
with firewood as follows: 

For every Room for Officers. Non-Commissioned 
Officers and Privates from the 1 st day Ocf. to the 1 st 
April 3-8 ,,ls of a Cord of Wood per week for each 
room so occupied as aforesaid — and for 5 Wicks 

preceeding the 1 st Ocf. and 5 Weeks after the I s ' 
April 3-16 ,h s of a Cord of Wood p r week and for 
the remaining 16 weeks 1-8 of a Cord per week. . . . 

150. Orderly Books of the 4th N.Y. Reg't., p. 541: 
"no Officer Waiter to be absent at Roll Calls in the 
Fvening on pain of being punished." 

151. Luzader, p. 133 (Willett Narrative): "Permis- 
sion having been granted, they were conducted blindfolded 
into the fort, and received by Colonel Gansevoort in his 
dining room." 

152. Crown Map No. 99. This drawing is interpreted 
as having two necessary houses drawn on the fort plan. 
Without question the elevated privy is shown in plan 
projecting off the southeast bastion and is marked with a 
dotted line called C-D which is called a section, but 
actually is an elevation view of the necessary and foot- 
bridge. The plan of the elevated privy is almost identical 
to that of what is called the officers' privy, located near 
the center of the officers' huts. The elevated privy contains 
two compartments; one side could have been used by the 
soldiers and the other side used by officers. During the day 
the officers would be required to use the elevated privy, 
but at night a privy located on the parade ground would 
have been used. The soldiers, meanwhile, would be re- 
quired to use the exterior privy at all times. 

153. Crown Map No. 103, dated November 19'h 1764. 

154. Richard Day, Calendar of Sir William Johnson 
Manuscripts in the New York State Library (University of 
the State of New York. Albany. 1909) p. 357. May 26, 

1767. letter from Daniel Campbell to Sir Wm. Johnson 
stating that Capt. Stevens is to dismantle the garrison at 
Fort Stanwix; p. 361, June 20. 1767. letter from Hugh 
Wallace to Johnson stating that Major Goreham and 2nd 
Lieut. Galland are to reside at Fort Stanwix; p. 485. May 

16. 1771. letter from Edward Wall to Johnson describing 
Lieut. Galland's condition (at Fort Stanwix). Johnson was 
still concerned about the pay of the batteauxmen serving 
to bring provisions up to Fort Stanwix during the treaty of 

1768. (Johnson to Gage, letter dated April 26, 1773, 
p. 518). 

155. The last remaining soldiers' cabin built at the 
New Windsor Cantonment in New York State during 
1782-83 was constructed with logs used to fill in the 
gable ends. The corners of the walls were not dovetailed 
but simply half lapped and pinned together. 

156. Crown Map No. 102. dated 1764. See drawings 
of cross sections. 

157. Colbrath Diary, pp. 99-100: "Augth. This Day 
the Enemy having Observed that we brought water from 
the Creek altered its Course so that it became dry." 

158. Willett Orderly Book, entry dated September 

17. 1777. 

159. Ibid., entry dated September 20. 1777. 

160. A photostat of the original plan, undated, is 
lept in the Oneida County Historical Society. Utica. New 
York. The Gansevoort Map of Fort Stanwix is thought to 
be a copy of this plan. 

161. See Illustration No. 8 for a view of the James 
Wilson powder horn. 

162. Orderly Books of the 4th N.Y. Reg't.. pp. 575-76: 
Fort Schuyler Fryday 13* April 1781 The 

Sentinals after Nine OClock are to Chalence every 
person and not suffer them to pass unless they giv 
the Countersign except those who are going to the 
Necesary House who are not to pass or Repass 
without giving their Names. 

163. E.B. O'Callaghan, Colonial History of the State 
oj Wew York. Paris Documents: XVII. 1745-1778; and 
\ I Albany. 1858). p. 1162. 

Historic Structure 199 

164. Drawings of these three necessaries are kept in 
the files of Fort Stanwix. Obtained from the Crown 
Collection, Mss. Room, New York State Library. 

165. Willett Orderly Book, March 15, 1778. 

166. Orderly Books of the 4th N.Y. Reg't., p. 541. 

167. Ibid., p. 542. 

168. Colbrath Diary, entry for August 11, 1777. 

169. Elmer Journal, p. 135. 

170. Capt. Smith, p. 102. 

171. Crown Map No. 101, Profile thro E-F. 

172. Crown Map No. 102, Section thro A-B. 

173. Scott, p. 100. 

174. Ibid., p. 180. Letter written for newspaper 
publication by Willett for Jonathan Trumball, Albany, 
August 15, 1777. 

175. Luzader, p. 69. 

176. Crown Map No. 103. Note symbol used for 
pickets in ditch and berm. 

177. Luzader, pp. 67-69. 

178. Clinton Papers; letter from Lt. Col. Robert 
Cochran to Gov. Clinton, May 12, 1781, reporting on the 
condition of Fort Stanwix after the fire: "2d that the 
only remaining strength is the outside Picquets on the 

179. Rome Daily Sentinel, Tuesday, February 25, 
1969. Editorial by Mr. Fritz Updike. 

180. Luzader, p. 68. 

181. Charles Augustus Struenesee, The First Prin- 
ciples of Field Fortification, translated from the German 
by William Nicolay (London. 1800), p. 94: 

Manner of fixing Palisades — Two palisades are then 
firmly fixed at some distance asunder, with great 
accuracy, and exactly of equal height. At the points 
of these palisades, nails are driven, and a cord is 
stretched between them; by which means the situation 
of all the palisades is determined, and it is easy to fix 
them sufficiently correct. 

Colonel C. B. Jebb, J ebb's Treatise on Attack and 
Defense, 5th Edition (London, 1857), p.38: 

The Palisades should be 9 or 10 feet long, so that 
when finished, the ends shall be at least 7 feet above 
the ground. They may be made out of the stems of 
young trees of 6 or 8 inches diameter. ... If the 
Materials are weak, a cross piece must be nailed to 
them near the top, to prevent their being broken 
down, and they must not be placed so close together 
as to cover an Enemy. 

182. Original ordnance demand dated Sept r 18 th 
1758, and signed by James Stephens Capt Lieut of 
Artillery, T Sowers Engineer, and Jn°: Williams Engineer, 
is kept in the Mss. Room, New York State Library, 
Albany. N.Y. 

183. Orderly Books of the 4th N.Y. Reg.'t.. Novem- 
ber 24, 1780, pp. 541-542. 

184. Colbrath Journal; references to August 2 on 
page 95, August 6 on page 96. 

185. Orderly Books of the 4th N.Y. Reg't., May 24, 
1781, p. 583. 

186. A full listing of military dictionaries dealing with 
platforms would be too lengthy to include at this point but 
the most useful books are as follows: 

Duane, William, A Military Dictionary (Philadelphia, 
1810), p. 533. 

Gay De Vernon, S.F., On the Science of War and 
Fortifications, translated by John Michael O'Connor (New 
York. 1817). Vol. I. p. 266-276. 

Lacroix, Irenee Amelot de. The French Artillerist 

translated by Samuel MacKay (Boston, 1808). p. 10. 

Lallemand, H.. A Treatise on Artillery, translated by 

James Renwick (New York. 1820). Vol. I. pp. 275-278. 
Smith, George Capt.. An Universal Military Diction- 
ary (England. 1779). (see under "Battery"). 

187. Sheffield, Merle G.. The Fort That Never Was. 
Constitution Island in the Revolutionary War, (1972). 
Plan No. 3 by Bernard Romans. September 14. 1775, on 
page 5. showing solid gun platforms. 

188. Colbrath Journal, p. 104. 

189. Lallemand, p. 276. 

190. Ibid., p. 278. 

191. Ibid. 

192. Capt. Smith, p. 220. 

193. Crown Map No. 99 shows in Sections A-B and 
C-D the construction of the outer two walls that formed 
the log cribbing of the ramparts. This log cribbing filled 
with earth was built around the entire circuit of the fort's 
bastions and curtain walls. Section E-F, taken through the 
north curtain wall, illustrates the construction of the 
ramparts where the three walls were used to form the 
outer log cribbing and the inner casemates. Also shown on 
this plan is an elevation drawing of the casemates, indi- 
cating the two 12" thick tiers of squared timbers used 
for the teneplein or roof construction of the four curtain 

194. Luzader, p. 40. See also Sections A-B, C-D, and 
E-F on Crown Map No. 99 that show the ramparts 
constructed en barbette. 

195. Crown Map No. 101. See legend explaining the 
amount of work completed at Fort Stanwix ". . . from 
July to December 1759." Section A-B shows the fraise in 
position on the ramparts of the northeast bastion. Section 
E-F shows the newly raised wooden parapet built around 
the northwest bastion. In section it scales 5'-6" high. 
There appears to be either a banquette step or a hurter 
piece for one of the gun platforms in this same drawing. 
Note: The newly made parapet, banquette step and gun 
platforms were stained in red on the original drawing. 
These appear as darkened areas in the black and white 

196. The Papers of Sir William Johnson, p. 273. 

197. Notes found on Crown Map No. 101. 

198. Notes found on Crown Map No. lOz. 

199. Elmer Journal, p. 32. 

200. Luzader. p. 20. Comments by Capt. William 

201. Capt. Smith, p. 221. 

202. Elmer Journal, p. 134. 

203. Luzader, p. 70. 

204. Luzader, pp. 68-69. 

205. Capt. Smith, p. 312. 

206. See Crown Maps Nos. 99. 100, and 101. Also 
called caponiere. 

207. See Crown Maps Nos. 102 and 103. 

208. See Crown Map No. 103 which shows the 
passageway in this manner. 

209. Scaled directly from the archeologists' field 
drawings of 1972. 

210. Elmer Journal, p. 411. 

211. Capt. Smith, p. 228. 

212. Capt. Smith, p. 70. 

213. Dick Ping Hsu. "Summary of the 1970 Excava- 
tions at Fort Stanwix," N.P.S.. April, 1971, p. 9. 

214. William M. Black, Evolution on the Art of 
Fortification, U.S. Army Engineering School, G.P.O. 
(Wash.. 1919). 

215. Walter Muir Whitehill. Boston A Topographical 
History (Cambridge, 1968), p. 19. 

216. Henry E. Dunnack, Maine Forts (Augusta, 
Me.. 1924). 

200 Fort Stanwix 

217. Copies of three different drawings of this fort, 
built on the Piscataqua River, vere obtained from the 
Crown Collection kept in the Mss. Room. New York 
State Library. Albany. See Illustration No. 16. 

218. The most useful of the military dictionaries 
concerning sentry box descriptions are: 

Gentleman's Compleat Military Dictionary (Boston. 

GUERITE, is a small tower of stone or wood, 
generally on the Point of a Bastion, or on the Angles 
of the Shoulder, to hold a CENTINEL, who is to 
take care of the Foss, and to watch to prevent 
Surprizes; some call ECHAUGETTE those which are 
made of Wood, and are of a square Form, for the 
GUERITES of Stone are roundish, and are built half 
without the Wall, and terminate at a Point below, 
which ought to be at the CORDON, that the 
CENTINEL may discover along the Faces, Flanks 
and Curtins, and all along the Foss: They ought to 
be about six Foot high, and their Breadth three and 
a half. 

Charles Lamb. An Universal Military Dictionary in 
English and French in which arc explained the Terms of 
the Principal Sciences that are Necessary for the Informa- 
tion of an Officer, 4th Ed., (London, T. Egerton, 1816), 
PP. 96, 301. 

Centry . . . No centry to move more than 50 paces 
to the right, and as many to the left of his post; and 
let the weather be ever so bad, he must not get 
under any other cover, but that of the centry-box. 

CENTRY-box, a sort of wooden box, or hut, to 
shelter the centinel from the injuries of the weather: 
but in fortifications made of masonry, they are of 
stone in a circular form. 

SENTRY . . . Sentries are placed before the arms of 
all guards, at the tents and doors of general officers, 
colonels of regiments, &c. 

Thomas Simes, A New Military Historical and 
Explanatory Dictionary (Humphreys, Bell and Aitken, 
Philadelphia, 1776). 

GUERRITTE sic, "a fort or small tower of stone or 
wood, on the point of a bastion, or on the angles of 
the shoulder, to hold a sentry. (A sketch of a 
masonry sentry box is included with this explanation.) 
Capt. George Smith, An Universal Military Diction- 
ary (J. Millan, London, 1779). p. 80. 

Centry-box, a sort of wooden box, or hut, to shelter 
the centinel from the injuries of the weather. . . . 
ECHAUGETTE sic, in military history, signifies a 
watch tower or kind of a centry box. (The term 
"tower of duty," found in many soldiers' diaries may 
have meant duty served in one of the early fortified 
towers in England. Later, this term probably became 
known as tour of duty.) 

219. This drawing was provided by Mr. John Fortier. 
Head Research Historian at Fortress of Louisbourg NHP, 
( anada. Its source is Bernard Forest de Belidor. La 
Science des ingenieurs dans la conduite des travattx de 
fortification et d 'architecture civile . . . (Paris, Jambert. 
1739). See Illustration No. 19. 

220. Scott, p. 100. Also checked against the original 
letter found in the Gates papers, microfilm, reel No. 3. 

221. Willett Orderly Book. May 15. 1778. 

222. For a short biographical sketch of James Wilson, 
see "Hobbies, The Magazine for Collectors," May, 1951. 
pp. 146-147. Mr. Chester Williams of Rome, N.Y. was 
the person responsible for calling attention to this article 

and for permitting the power horn drawing to be photo- 
copied. See Illustration No. 8. 

223. Orderly Books of the 4th N.Y. Reg't.. p. 556. 

224. Ibid., p. 575. 

225. Ibid. 

226. See footnote No. 218. 

227. See Illustration No. 19. 

228. Storehouses were built at the Oneida Carrying 
Place during the British occupation. See Crown Map No. 
100 for location of a storehouse in 1758. 

229. Scott, p. 100. Capt. de Lamarquise to General 
Gates, n.d. 

230. Willett Orderly Book. 

231. Ibid., February 24. 1778. 

232. Orderly Books of the 4th N.Y. Reg.t.. pp. 542, 
552-553, 573. 

233. Letter from Hansen to Schuyler, dated Decem- 
ber 30. 1776, (Fort Stanwix). commenting on the fact he 
had been assigned a room for stores by Col. Elmore. 
This extract furnished by NPS historian John Luzader: 

The moment it is clean I will have proper shelves to 
lay the goods to advantage. I am happy that the 
Room which is to contain the goods adjoins the one 
in which I live alone. Threw sic which I intend to 
make a Passage and so use only one Door to the 
Two Rooms. 

The above comments suggest that the commissary 
store in 1776 might have been located in one of the 
barracks buildings. This is one instance where an altera- 
tion was made between two interior rooms of a building. 

234. Documentary History of New York, Vol. 13, 
p. 526. 

235. Expedition to Detroit, 1793. edited by John and 
Isaac Comly, Byberry. Vol. II. 2nd Edition (Philadelphia. 
1836) pp. 574-575. 

236. Scott, p. 100. 

237. Also called at various times Mill Creek and 
Garden Creek. 

238. Willett Orderly Book. August 11. 1777. 

239. Rome Directory, 1857. p. 130. See Illustration 
No. 12. 

240. Elmer Journal, p. 135: 

Orders which were much needed in our camp at this 
time, as guns were frequently heard in the bush, 
which were no doubt fired by soldiers; but we were 
not able to find out the particular persons till this 
day. when 4 were brought in and sentenced by the 
Lieut. Col. to stand 1 hour stripped and tied alto- 
gether at the whipping post, which was immediately 
put in execution. 

241. Orderly Books of the 4th N.Y. Reg't.. p. 577. 




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